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London : J. M. DENT & SONS, Ltd. 
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First Isiue of this Edition, X907 
Reprinted, 1 9 10 


Thomas Roscoe's version of the " Vita di Benvenuto Cellini " 
provided the first edition of the work printed in this series ; 
but now that a second edition is called for, it has been decided 
to substitute the latter and better version of Miss Macdonell. 
Her translation appeared in 1903, forming the first two 
volumes in the series of "Temple Autobiographies." In 
her account of Cellini's book and its English translators, 
Miss Macdonell has very clearly stated her own relative place 
in their brief succession. 

"It is a great misfortune," she says, "to his fame in 
England, and an irremediable loss to English letters, that the 
MS. of his life was hid away in an Italian library in our great 
age of translators, the age that gave us Florio's Montaigne 
and North's Plutarch^ and certain of the Italian novelU. 
He has the full-bodied flavour they relished, the vivacious 
physiognomy they could so admirably render with their broad, 
efifective strokes and living colour. We have entirely lost 
their tradition — lost their splendid art and their audacity, 
their contempt for detail and peddling accuracy, if so be 
they could, express an individuality well-nigh as strong as, 
if not identical with, the original." 

Then, proceeding to the new school of English translators, 
she continues : " Our present ideals of translation, when we 
happen to have any, are quite different. They are scientific, 
philological, rather than artistic, and too often, in spite of 
excellent qualities, the work has the air of being done, not 
so much for the sake of literature,^ as under the eye of the 
examiner. The two earlier versions of Cellini have the virtues 
of neither class. Nugent's hardly counts now. Roscoe's 
has individuality of style, but an individuality which is pedantic 
and often unpleasant. For the rest, it does not satisfy the 
loosest standard of correctness. English readers owe a great 
debt to Symonds, as do all translators who come after him, 
and I most gratefully acknowledge mine. His version has 
not lacked appreciation ; but only one who has grappled with 
the same task can adequately know his unsparing con- 

1 There are, of coiirse, some brilliant exceptions to this rather hard 
general rule — Prot Gilbert Murray, for instance. \Ed.\ 




scientiousness, his patient, unremitting zeal for accuracy. 
Where he differs from others, he does so after long and 
deliberate research. No follower of his can be slipshod or 
indifferent to detail. But the modern system has its defects 
we none of us can escape from. The pressing ideal of strict 
justice to each individual clause, compelling here the choice 
of archaisms, there of colloquialisms of the day, and again 
of foreign idioms, as if to force on the reader that something 
very difficult is being done for him — which, in truth, is often 
the case — tends to a lack of artistic coherence, and the result 
is apt to be something much better in the part than in the 

One may say of Addington Symonds's translation, that it 
has something of the radiance which belonged to all his prose 
writings, and especially to those that touched on or reflected 
his beloved Italy. His Cellini is Cellini with an added quality, 
which makes the autobiography shine as it hardly does in the 
Italian, and which at times rather disguises the cruder idiom 
of the original. 

As for the original manuscript of the work, it ran extra- 
ordinary risks of being lost altogether. The Cavalcanti family, 
who owned it in the seventeenth century, guarded it jealously. 
Inside the modern binding of the Codex, in the Laurentian 
Library, can still be read the words — d^ libri di Andrea dt 
Lorenzo Cavalcanti. Andrea's determination to retain the 
book is attested with fatuous pride by his son, Lorenzo Maria, 
on the blank page at the beginning of the MS. : — 

" This most singular book was ever held in high esteem by 
my father. Signer Andrea Cavalcanti, of happy and to me 
most precious memory. He never would let anyone copy it, 
holding out even against the oft-repeated entreaties made to 
him by his Most Serene and Reverend Highness, the Prince 
Cardinal Leopold of Tuscany." 

Lorenzo, however, gave the MS. to Redi ; and then an 
edition was printed from a defective copy in 1728 ; and the 
Cavalcanti original went through divers strange adventures, 
apparently disappeared like a book bewitched from more than 
one library, and at length turned up in the shop of Cecchino 
dal Seminario. There a book-hunter found it, and he be- 
queathed it on his death to the Biblioteca-Medicea-Lauren- 
ziana. This is the MS. from which the one authentic Italian 
text is taken ; the text from which in turn Miss Macdoncll 
has made her spirited English version of this extraordinary 

The earlier translations were the work of— 
T. Nugent, 1771 ; T. Roscoe, 1822 ; and J. A. Symonds, 
1888 (1887). 




Letter from Benvenuto Cellini to Benedetto 
Varchi .... 

Prefatory Sonnet and Declaration . 

[Respecting the Writing of the Memoirs] 

Life of Benvenuto Cellini, written by Himself 
Book I. . 

Book II. . 

Benvenuto's Last Days 

Notes to Book I. 

Notes to Book II. 

Index • . • . 








(To whom he had sent some part of the MS. of his Memoirs) 

Your lordship tells me that the simple discourse of 
my Life contents you more in its first shape than 
were it polished and retouched by others — for then 
the truth of what I have written would show less 
clear ; and I have taken great care to say nothing 
of things for which I should have had to fumble in 
my memory. Indeed, I have told naught save the 
truth, omitting many wonderful happenings which 
others in my place would have made very prominent ; 
for I had so many great things to tell that not to 
make too thick a volume I have left out many of 
the smaller. I now send my own servant, to whom 
you can give my wallet and the book. I think you 
cannot have been able to read the whole, but I do 
not wish to weary you with a wretched trifle like 
this. I have had from you what I wanted, and am 
much satisfied therewith. So with all my heart I 
thank you. Now I beg you not to trouble to read 
farther, but to send it back to me, all save the sonnet, 
which I am fain should have some polishing from 
that marvellous file of yours. Ere long I shall come 
to visit you, and I am ever at your service so far as 
my knowledge and my power extend. 

Keep well, I beg of you j and hold me still in 
your good favour. 

Florence, ^^nd May 1559. 

If your lordship would keep in mind to do some 
little service to my young friar, I should be much 
beholden to you. Awaiting your lordship's com- 
mands, Benvenuto Cellini. 


Here my life's struggling story I make plain 
To thank the God of Nature, who has still 
Tended the soul He gave me. By His will, 

Diverse and high my deeds — ajid I remain. 

My cruel fate hath warr'd with me in vain : 
Life, glory, worth, and all unmeasured skill. 
Beauty and grace, themselves in me fulfil. 

That many I surpass, and to the best attain. 

But man's frail thoughts fly 'fore the wind like sand. 
Now know I all the waste, and sorely blame 
The precious time I have in trifles spent. 

Yet, since remorse is vain, I'll be content. 
Welcome I mount, as Welcome down I came 
Into the flower of this good Tuscan land. 

/ had begun to write this Life of myself with my own 
handy as may be seen in certain mended pages [^of the 
MS.^, But I reflected that I was losing too much 
time^ and that this was but excessive vanity. So 
falling in with a son of Michele di Goro of Pieve 
a Groppine^ a lad of about fourteen years old^ and 
weakly^ I set him to write for me. Thus while I 
worked I dictated to him my Life. And as I took no 
little pleasure in the things I worked all the more 
diligently and was the more productive. So I left the 
burden of the writing to the boy ; and I hope to go 
forward with the task as far as my recollections will 
serve me. 






i. All men, whatever be their condition, who 
have done anything of merit, or which verily has a 
semblance of merit, if so be they are men of truth 
and good repute, should write the tale of their Hfc 
with their own hand. Yet it were best they should 
not set out on so fine an enterprise till they have 
passed their fortieth year. And now this very thing 
occurs to me, when I am fifty-eight years old and 
more, here in Florence, where I was born. Many 
are the adversities I can look back on such as fall to 
the lot of man ; yet am I freer from the same than I 
have ever been till now. In truth it seems to me I 
have greater content of mind and health of body 
than at any time in the past. Some pleasant happen- 
ings I recall, and, again, some unspeakable misfor- 
tunes, which, when I remember, strike terror into 
me and wonder that I have, indeed, come to this age 
of fifty-eight, from which, by God's grace, I am now 
going on my way rejoicing. 

ii. Doubtless, such men as have laboured and 


gained some repute have given to the world thereby 
a knowledge of themselves ; and it should be enough 
for them to have proved they were men and to be 
known for such. Yet we must live as we find others 
do ; and so it is but natural some little vain-glory 
should creep into a thing of this kind ; and this may 
show itself in divers ways, the first being when a 
man lets the world know he comes of a very long 
and virtuous line. 

My name is Benvenuto Cellini, and I am the son 
of Maestro Giovanni, son of Andrea, son of Cristo- 
fano Cellini. My mother was Madonna Elisabetta, 
daughter of Stefano Granacci ; and both my parents 
were citizens of Florence. In the chronicles drawn 
up by our Florentines of ancient days, men worthy 
of faith, according to the report of Giovanni Villani, 
it stands written that the city of Florence must have 
been built after the pattern of the fair city of Rome. 
And some traces of the Colosseum and of the Baths 
are still to be seen near Santa Croce. The Capitol 
was where the Old Market is to-day. The Rotonda, 
built for the temple of Mars, still stands ; now it 
belongs to our Saint John. That so it was can be 
very plainly seen, and none can deny it ; but these 
buildings are much smaller than those of Rome. 
They say it was Julius Caesar had them built, in 
conjunction with certain noble Romans, who, when 
Fiesole had been laid siege to and taken, built a city 
in this place, each of them undertaking to erect one 
of these famous monuments. Among Julius Caesar's 
chief captains was a valorous man, by name Fiorino 
of Cellino, a hamlet about two miles from Monte 
Fiascone. Now this Fiorino having taken up his 
abode under Fiesole, where Florence now is, in order 
that he might be near the river Arno for the con- 
venience of the army, all the soldiers and other 
persons who had intercourse with the said captain, 
were wont to say, " Let us go to Fiorenze," — first, 



because this captain's name was Fiorino, and likewise 
because, from the nature of the soil, flowers grew 
abundantly on the spot where he had taken up his 
quarters. So at the foundation of the place, this 
name seeming to Julius Caesar a very fair one, and 
offered naturally, and since flowers are of good 
augury, he gave the name of Florence to the city. 
Moreover, he wished to give pleasure to his valorous 
captain, all the more that he had raised him from a 
very lowly place, and that he had been the making 
of such an able man. Learned contrivers and in- 
vestigators of the origin of words would have the 
name to mean, on the flowing Arnoj but this it 
seems impossible to accept, for Rome is on the flow- 
ing Tiber, Ferrara on the flowing Po, Lyons on the 
flowing Saone, Paris on the flowing Seine, yet are 
their names different and come at by another road. 

Thus much we find ; and so do we believe our- 
selves descended from a man of worth. Besides, 
we Cellinis are to be found in Ravenna, the most 
ancient city of Italy, and men of noble birth are not 
wanting there. In Pisa, too, there are some, and I 
have come upon them in many places of Christendom; 
moreover, in this State the name is not extinct 
among men following the profession of arms. For 
not long ago, a young man called Luca Cellini, nay, 
a beardless boy he was, fought with a practised 
soldier and a most valiant man, Francesco da Vicorati 
by name, who was a noted duellist. Yet Luca, by 
his own might, sword in hand, overcame him and 
killed him with such bravery and skill that every- 
body was astonished, having looked for just the 
contrary. So that I glory in my descent from men 
of valour. 

And now whatever honours I may have won for 
my house in the ordinary course of life as it is lived 
to-day, and by my art — though 1 make no great 
account of these — I shall tell of the same in due 


season. But much prouder am I of having been 
born in a humble station, and of having laid an 
honourable foundation for my house, than if I had 
been of great lineage, and by my vices had blackened 
and defaced it. So now I begin my story by telling 
how it pleased God I should be born. 

iii. My forefathers dwelt in the Val d'Ambra, 
where they had great possessions. Having retired 
there on account of the raging fections, they lived 
like little lords ; and all of them were doughty men 
of arms. In that time a younger son of the house, 
Cristofano by name, had a great quarrel with certain 
neighbours and friends. The heads of both houses 
intervened, and so great a fire was seen to be kindled 
as imperilled the very existence of the two families. 
The elders pondered the matter, and it was agreed 
my own people should send away Cristofano, while 
the other side removed the youth who had been the 
cause of the quarrel. They sent their man to Siena; 
our family dispatched Cristofano to Florence, where 
they bought for him a little house in the Via Chiara, 
hear by the convent of Sant' Orsola, and likewise 
some excellent property at Ponte a Rifredi. Cristo- 
fano took to himself a wife in Florence, and begat 
sons and daughters. When all the daughters were 
settled in Hfe, the sons after their father's death 
divided the rest of the inheritance. The house in 
the Via Chiara, with some other few things, fell to 
one of the said sons, Andrea by name. He in his 
turn took a wife, and had four sons, the eldest of 
whom was called Girolamo ; the second Bartolommeo; 
the third Giovanni — afterwards my father ; and the 
fourth Francesco. 

This Andrea Cellini had a good understanding of 
the fashion of architecture of those days ; adopted it 
as his profession, and lived by it. Giovanni, who 
was my father, took more interest in it than did any 
of the others. And because Vitruvius says, amongst 


other things, that he who would be an adept at this 
art must needs know something of music and of good 
design, Giovanni became an able draughtsman, and 
then began to study music, learning, along with the 
science of that art, to play excellently on the viola 
ind the flute. Being a man of studious habits, he 
icldom went out of the house. Next door to them 
lived one Stefano Granacci, who had several daughters, 
all of them very beautiful. Now as it pleased God, 
Giovanni saw one of these girls whose name was 
Elisabetta, and so much did she please him that he 
asked her for his wife. And because both the fathers 
were well acquainted with each other, from being 
such near neighbours, it was easy to bring about the 
marriage, and each thought the arrangement a good 
one for himself. First the two old fellows settled the 
match, and then they set about discussing the dowry, 
which gave rise to a little friendly dispute between 
them. For Andrea said to Stefano: "My son 
Giovanni is the bravest young man in Florence, nay 
in all Italy ; and if I had cared to find a wife for him 
before now, I might have had the best dower which 
is ever given in Florence among folk of our con- 
dition." And Stefano answered : " You are a 
thousand times right ; but here am I saddled with 
five girls and as many boys. I have made my 
calculations, and this is as much as I can afford." 
Here Giovanni, who, unseen by them, had been 
listening for a while, came out suddenly and said : 
"My father, it is the girl I have longed for and 
loved, not their money. Bad luck to such as would 
get rich on his wife's dowry. Indeed, since you 
have been bragging of my great cleverness, shall I 
not be able to keep my wife and satisfy her needs 
even with a less sum of money than you have set 
your heart on ? Now I would have you understand 
that the lady is mine. As for the dowry, I leave it 
to you." Hereat Andrea Cellini, who was of rather 



an irritable temper, was somewhat displeased. But 
in a few days Giovanni brought home his lady, and 
never asked for any other portion. For eighteen 
years they rejoiced in their youth and their blessed 
love, yet longing greatly for children ; after which 
time Elisabetta miscarried of two male children by 
reason of the doctor's blundering. Later she was 
again with child, and bore a girl, to whom they gave 
the name of Cosa, after my father's mother. Two 
years passed and she was once more with child ; and 
whereas the strong cravings to which pregnant 
women are slaves, were precisely like those she had 
on the former occasion, they all made up their minds 
she was about to bear another daughter, and the 
name of Reparata was agreed on, after my mother's 
mother. Now it happened that the child was born 
on the night after All Saints' Day of the year 1500, 
at half-past four exactly. The midwife, who knew 
that a woman-child was expected, so soon as she had 
washed the creature and swaddled it in finest white 
linen, crept up softly to Giovanni, my father, and 
said, " I bring you a good gift which you were not 
looking for." My father, who had been pacing up 
and down the floor, said, like the true philosopher he 
was, " What God sends is ever dear to me." Then 
he took off the swaddling clothes and beheld the 
unexpected male child. Clasping his old hands 
together, and raising his eyes to God, he said, " Lord, 
I thank Thee with all my heart. This is very 
precious unto me. I bid him welcome." Every- 
body who was there asked him in their joy what name 
he had given the child, and Giovanni gave no other 
answer than to say, "He is Welcome [Benvenuto]." 
And so was it determined. This name was given 
me in Holy Baptism ; and with it I am living still 
by the grace of God. 

iv. My grandfather, Andrea Cellini, was still alive 
when I was about three years old and he was more than 



a hundred. One day a cistern pipe was being moved, 
when out of it came a great scorpion. Unseen by the 
others, it slipped from the cistern to the ground and 
crept away under a bench. I saw it and ran and laid 
hold of it. So large was it that when I clenched it in 
my little fist the tail stuck out from one end and from 
the other its two claws. In high delight I ran, they 
tell me, to my grandfather, saying, " Look, grandad, 
at my dear little crab." When he saw it was a 
scorpion, he all but fell dead of fright and anxiety for 
me. With many caresses he begged me to give it 
to him ; but I only clutched it the tighter, weeping 
and declaring I would not give it up to anybody. 
My father, who was also in the house, came running 
at the sound of my cries. Dazed with terror, he 
could for the moment think of no way of preventing 
the venomous animal from killing me. But suddenly 
his eyes fell on a pair of shears, and so, coaxing me 
the while, he cut off the tail and the claws. Then 
when the great danger was over, he took the 
happening for a good omen. 

One day when I was about five years old, my father 
was sitting in a ground-floor room of ours in which 
washing had been going on, and where a large fire 
of oak logs had been left. Giovanni, his viola on his 
arm, was playing and singing by himself near the 
fire — for it was very cold. Looking into the fire he 
chanced to see in the middle of the most ardent 
flames a little creature like a lizard disporting itself 
in the midst of the intensest heat. Suddenly aware 
of what it was, he called my sister and me and 
pointed it out to us children. Then he gave me a 
sound box on the ears, which made me cry bitterly, 
on which he soothed me with kind words, saying, 
" My dear Httle fellow, I did not hurt you for any 
harm you had done, but only that you might re- 
member that the lizard in the fire there is a salamander, 
which never has been seen for a certainty by any one 



before." Then he kissed me and gave me some 

V. My father began to teach me to play the flute 
and to sing music ; and though I was of very tender 
years when little children are wont to be pleased 
with a whistle and such-Hke playthings, I had a 
particular dislike to it, so that only from obedience 
did I ever play or sing. In those days my father 
made wonderful organs with wooden pipes, and 
spinets the best and finest that had ever been seen, as 
well as violas, lutes, and harps, all of them beautifully 
and excellently fashioned. He was an engineer, too, 
and showed a wonderful talent in inventing instru- 
ments for lowering bridges, for fulling, and other 
machines. Likewise was he the first to work well in 
ivory. But when he had fallen in love with her who 
became my mother — and perhaps the little flute 
played some part in that, for he gave more time to it 
than he should — he was asked by the fifers of the 
Signory to play with them. This he did for a time 
for his own pleasure, and then they worked on him 
till he became one of their company. But Lorenzo 
de' Medici and Piero his son, who were very fond of 
him, presently began to see that he was giving 
himself up entirely to fifing, thus neglecting his 
fine inventive talent and his delightful art. So they 
took his place away from him. At this my father 
felt very sore, for he thought a great wrong had been 
done him. But he betook himself without delay 
to his art once more, and made a mirror, about a 
cubit in diameter, of bone and ivory, with figures and 
foliage exquisitely wrought and of beautiful design. 
The mirror was in the shape of a wheel ; in the 
middle was the glass, and round about were seven 
circles, in which were carved, of combined ivory and 
black bone, the seven Virtues ; and the whole mirror, 
and therefore, likewise, of course, the Virtues, were 
poised so that as the wheel turned, all the figures 



turned too ; but as weights were attached to their 
feet they kept upright. And since he had some 
knowledge of the Latin language, he put a Latin 
verse round the mirror, namely : — 

Rota sum : semper, quoquo me verto, stat Virtus. 
(Turn Fortune's wheel whithersoever it may, 
Still Virtue stands erect.) 

In a little while his post of fifer was given back to 
him. (Although some of these things took place 
before I was born, still, remembering what I heard 
of them, I have been unwilling to leave them untold.) 
In those days the musicians of this company all 
belonged to most honourable crafts, some of them 
being even members of the greater guilds of silk and 
«vool. For this reason my father did not disdain to 
follow the profession of music, and the greatest 
desire which he had in all the world for me was that 
I should become a fine player. As for me, the 
greatest worry of my life was his constantly saying 
to me that, if I had but the will — such great aptitude 
for it did he see in me — I might be the foremost 
man in all the world. 

vi. As I have said, my father was a loyal and 
much-attached servant of the house of the Medici ; 
and Piero, when he was exiled, confided many 
things of the utmost consequence to him. After- 
wards, when the magnificent Piero Soderini succeeded, 
and was aware of the wonderful talents of my father 
— who was still at his musical post — he began to 
employ him in very important work as an engineer ; 
and, indeed, while Soderini remained in Florence he 
showed him every favour possible. At that time I 
was of tender age, and my father had me carried to 
the palace and made me play upon the flute, my 
treble accompanying the musicians of the palace, 
before the Signory, while a beadle held me on his 
shoulder. On such occasions the gonfalonier, namely, 



Soderini, loved to make me prattle ; he used to give 
me sweetmeats, and he would say to my father, 
"Maestro Giovanni, along with music you should 
teach him your other delightful arts." To which 
my father answered, " I would rather he followed no 
other save music and its composition ; for in this 
profession I hope to make him the greatest man in 
the world, so but God spare him unto me." Where- 
upon one of the old Signors replied, " Ah, Maestro 
Giovanni, do as the gonfalonier tells you. Why 
should the boy never be anything better than a 
good player ? " 

And so time went on till the Medici came back 
again. No sooner were they back than the Cardinal, 
who was afterwards Pope Leo, began to make much 
of my father. While they had been away from 
Florence the balls had been blotted from the 
scutcheon on their palace, and a great red cross 
painted in instead — the same being the arms and 
insignia of the Commune. But at once on their 
return the red cross was erased, and the Medici red 
balls on a field of gold were put back in the shield, 
and all arranged to perfection. My father, who had a 
quiet vein of poetry in him, and something, too, of the 
divine gift of prophecy, wrote the following four lines 
under the coat-of-arms as soon as it was uncovered : — 

Under the meek and holy cross of late 
These arms, our pride, have deeply buried lain. 
They show a glorious, joyful face again ; 
For Peter's sacred mantle they await. 

The epigram was read by all Florence. A few days 
later Pope Julius II. died. The Cardinal de' Medici 
repaired to Rome, and against every one's expectation 
was made Pope, the liberal and magnanimous Leo X. 
My father forwarded to him his prophetic quatrain, 
and the Pope sent him word it would be to his 
advantage to come to Rome. But my father was 


unwilling ; and so instead of reward, his place in the 
palace was taken from him by Jacopo Salviati, when 
the latter became gonfalonier. This is how it came 
to pass that I was put to the goldsmith's craft ; and 
part of the time I learned that art, and the rest — but 
much against my will — I spent in music. 

vii. When my father worried me to become a 
musician, I answered begging him to let me draw 
so many hours a day, promising him that all the rest 
of the time I would give myself up to playing, just 
to please him. "Then you have no pleasure in 
music ? " he asked. Whereupon I said " No " ; for 
it seemed to me an art far below the one on which 
my own mind was set. Then in despair the good 
man placed me in the shop of the CavaHere Bandinello's 
father, who was called Michel Agnolo, a goldsmith 
of Pinzi di Monti, very strong in his craft. He had 
no advantages of birth, being the son of a coal- 
chandler. No blame is this to Bandinello, who was 
the founder of his house. If only he had founded it 
honourably ! However that be, I have nothing to 
say of him now. I had only been there a few days 
when my father took me away from Michel Agnolo, 
being so made that he could not Hve without 
seeing me constantly. So, ill content, I gave myself 
up to music till I was fifteen. If only I cared to 
describe all my adventures up to that age, and the 
mortal dangers that I ran, I should astonish whoever 
should read of them ; but that my story be not too 
long, and since I have much other to tell, I shall 
leave them aside. 

Now when I was fifteen I placed myself against 
my father's wish in a goldsmith's shop with a man 
called Antonio di Sandro, known to most as Marcone 
the goldsmith. An excellent craftsman was he, and a 
right honest man, high-minded and liberal in all his 
dealings. My father did not wish him to pay me 
wages as he did his other lads, so that, as I had 


chosen this art for my own pleasure, I might be free 
to draw as much as ever I liked. This I did very 
willingly, and my good master took endless pleasure 
in my work. He had an only and natural son to 
whom he was wont to give orders so that I might be 
spared. My desire to excel in this art was great, or 
rather, I might say, my love for it; but, indeed, 
both were strong in me; so that in a few months 
my work came up to that of the good, nay, to that of 
the best young practicians of the art, and I began to 
reap the fruit of my labours. Nevertheless I did 
not fail to give my father pleasure now and then by 
playing on the flute or on the cornet ; and every 
time I played, I drew tears and deep sighs from him 
as he sat listening. And so I would often dutifully 
please him in this way, as if it had been a joy to me 
as well. 

viii. At that time I had a brother two years younger 
than myself, a very daring, proud-spirited lad, who 
later became one of the great soldiers in the school of 
the marvellous Giovannino de' Medici, father of Duke 
Cosimo. This child was then about fourteen, and I 
was two years older. One Sunday, about two hours 
before nightfall, between the San Gallo and the Pinti 
gates, he fell out with a young man of twenty or so. 
They fought with swords, and so valorously did he 
close with his opponent that he dealt him a serious 
wound, and was for following the thing up. Among 
the crowd that stood about were many of the young 
man's kinsfolk, who seeing the affair go ill for him, 
took out their slings. One of the stones struck my 
poor young brother's head, and he fell suddenly to the 
ground, where he lay senseless and as if dead. Now 
I, who happened to be there without friends and 
unarmed, had been crying to my brother to make off, 
that he had done enough, just at the very moment 
when, as chance willed it, he was struck down. 
Running to him speedily, I took his sword and 


planted myself between him and the other threatening 
swords and the shower of stones. Nor did I leave 
him till from the San Gallo gate came up some 
valiant fighting men and saved me from the wild 
rage of the crowd. And much they marvelled to 
find such bravery in so young a lad. Then I carried 
my unconscious brother home, where with much 
difficulty he came to his senses. When he was 
better, the Eight — who had already arrested our 
adversaries and sentenced them to several years' 
banishment — ordered us also to a six months' exile at 
a distance of ten miles from Florence. " Come with 
me," said I to my brother. And so we parted from 
our poor father, who instead of providing us with 
money, of which he had none, gave us his blessing. 
I set off to Siena to find a certain good friend of 
mine. Maestro Francesco Castoro by name. Once 
before this, when I had run away from my father, I 
had sought out this good man, and had stayed with 
him some days, working at my goldsmith's craft till 
my father sent for me. When I reached him this 
time he recognised me, and set me to work. Besides 
that he gave me lodgings for such time as I should 
be in Siena, and thither I repaired with my brother, 
and stuck to my work for many months. My brother 
had made a beginning in Latin letters, but he was 
too young to have yet tasted the savour of learning, 
and so he wasted his days in idleness. 

ix. After a time the Cardinal de' Medici, who 
became Pope Clement, called us back to Florence at 
my father's prayers. But a certain pupil of my father's, 
moved thereto by his natural baseness, advised the 
Cardinal to send me to Bologna to learn music from 
a famous master there, who was called Antonio, 
truly a notable man in the musical profession. The 
Cardinal told my father that, if he sent me thither, 
he would give me letters of introduction that would 
help me. Accordingly my father, who nearly died 



of joy at such a proposition, sent me off ; and 1, 
eager to see the world, went with a good will. 
Reaching Bologna, I set to work under a man called 
Maestro Ercole del PiiFero, and began to make some 
little money. Every day I went for a music lesson, 
and in a few short weeks made no little progress in 
that accursed art. But I made a great deal more out 
of my goldsmith's craft ; for having received no help 
from the Cardinal, I placed myself in the house of 
a Bolognese miniaturist, called Scipione Cavallctti, 
who lived in the street of Our Lady of Baraccan j 
and there I took to designing and working for a 
Jew called Grazia Dio, with whom I made a fairly 
good living. 

Six months later I went back to Florence ; whereat 
Pierino, the fifer who had been my father's pupil, 
was very much vexed. Yet, to please my father, I 
went to see Pierino at his house, and played the 
cornet and the flute with one of his brothers, 
Girolamo by name, several years younger than 
Pierino, a very honest, good young fellow, just the 
opposite of his brother. On one such day my father 
came to Piero's house to hear us play, and, full of his 
pleasure in my skill, he cried, "I'll make you a 
wonderful performer yet, and I defy any one to pre- 
vent me ! " To this Picro replied — and it was the 
truth he spoke — "Your Benvenuto will reap far 
more gain and honour if he sticks to his goldsmith- 
ing than to this fifing business." So angry was my 
father at these words — for he saw I was of the same 
mind as Piero — that he cried out with great heat, 
"Well I knew it was you who stood in the way of 
this great desire of mine ; and you it was who had 
me dismissed from my post at the palace, paying 
me with that gross ingratitude which is the usual 
reward of great benefits. I got you appointed there, 
and you've had me sent packing. It was I taught 
you whatever you know of music, and you hinder 



my son from doing my will. But keep in mind 
these prophetic words : Not years, nor months, I 
say, shall pass, but a few weeks, ere this shameful 
ingratitude prove your ruin." Then Pierino answered 
and said, "Maestro Giovanni, most men grow 
mad as they get old. So is it with you. And 
this is no surprise to me, since I have watched you 
freely squander all your property, heedless of your 
children's needs. Wherefore I mean to do just the 
contrary: to leave so much to my sons that they 
may be able to come to the help of yours." Thereto 
my father replied, " No rotten tree brings forth 
good fruit, but just the opposite. Moreover, I say 
to you, you are a worthless man ; and your sons will 
be mad and poor, and a day will come when they 
will beg alms of my virtuous and prosperous children." 
And so we left the house, he and Pierino muttering 
angry words at each other. I had taken my dear 
father's part ; and as we came out together I said 
to him I would fain revenge the insults which that 
ribald fellow had cast at him — provided he let me 
betake myself to the art of design. "O my dear 
son," said my father, " I too have been a good 
draughtsman ; but as a relief from the extraordinary 
labours that entails, and for love of me, who am 
your father, who begat you, reared you, and gave 
you the beginnings of such distinguished talents, 
will you not promise me, as repose after your labours, 
now and then to take up that flute and that 
enchanting cornet and give yourself up to the 
pleasure of your own music ? " Yes, I said ; right 
willingly would I do so for love of him. Then my 
dear fether said that it was by the display of such 
talents I should best revenge him for the insults of 
his enemies. 

Not quite a month had passed when Pierino, who 
was having a vault built in his house in the Via dello 
Studio, was one day with some companions in his 



basement room over the vault. There he began 
speaking of his former master, my father, and 
repeating the words which he had said to him respect- 
ing his coming ruin. No sooner had he uttered 
them than the floor of the room where he was fell 
in — mayhap the vault was badly built ; nay, rather 
was it not by the mere power of God, who does not 
pay on Saturday ? — and the stones and bricks falling 
with him, both his legs were fractured. Meanwhile 
those who were with him remained on the edge of 
the vault and took no harm, but stood there stupefied 
and astounded — all the more on account of what he 
had been telling them a moment ago as a jest. When 
my father heard the news, he girt on his sword and 
went to see him ; and in the presence of the injured 
man's father, who was called Niccolaio of Volterra, 
a trumpeter of the Signory, addressed him thus : 
" Piero, my dear pupil, I am indeed sorry for your mis- 
fortune ; but if you recollect, it is only a little time 
since I warned you of it ; and all I said then respect- 
ing your children and mine will come to pass." 
Shortly afterwards the ungrateful Piero died of this 
accident. He left a wife of low character and one 
son, who some years later came to beg alms of me in 
Rome. I gave him something, both because it is in 
my nature to give alms to the poor, and because I 
called to mind with tears the happy condition in 
which his father had lived when mine had prophesied 
that Pierino's sons should one day beg from his own 
worthy children. But now enough has been said 
about this. Only, none should make mock of the 
predictions of an honest man when he has been un- 
justly abused; for it is not he that speaks ; it is 
verily the voice of God. 

X. So I gave myself up to goldsmith's work, and 

by that means I was of help to my dear father. His 

other son, my brother Cecchino, had, as I said before, 

made a beginning in the study of Latin letters. It 



was my father's wish that I, the elder, should be a 
great musician and performer, and that his younger 
son should become a great and learned lawyer. But 
he could not force us from our natural bents, which 
bound me to the art of design, and my brother, who 
was finely proportioned and full of grace, to the pro- 
fession of arms. When he was still a young lad, he 
came home once from his first lesson in the school of 
the marvellous Signor Giovannino de' Medici. I was 
not in when he arrived. In want of seemly clothes 
to wear, he sought out our sisters, and they, unknown 
to my father, gave him a doublet and cloak of mine, 
both of them fine and new. (For, besides helping my 
father and my good honest sisters, I had been able to 
buy myself these fine clothes out of my savings.) 
When I discovered I had been cheated and robbed 
of my clothes, and could not find my brother, from 
whom I would have taken them away, I asked my 
father why he let me be so wronged, seeing that I 
laboured so hard and with such good-will to help him. 
To this he replied that I was his good son, but that 
he had got back again the one he had thought lost. 
Moreover, it was but right, and, indeed, according to 
the word of God Himself, that he who had possessions 
should give unto him who had none. Therefore, he 
begged me for his sake to bear this injury, and God 
would give me increase of good things. Then 
I, being an inexperienced youth, answered my 
afflicted father with heat ; and taking with me the 
poor remains of my clothes and money, I made ofF 
towards one of the gates of the city. But not 
knowing which one led towards Rome, I found 
myself at Lucca ; and from Lucca I went on to 

When I reached Pisa — I was about sixteen at the 
time — I stopped near the middle bridge, just where 
the Fish Stone is, and in front of a goldsmith's work- 
shop. While I was watching attentively what the 



master was doing, he came out and asked me who I 
was, and what was my calling. I replied that I 
worked a little in his own business. The good man 
then invited me into his shop, and gave me work to 
do on the spot, saying, " You have a look about you 
which makes me think you are an honest fellow." 
Then he set gold and silver and jewels before me. 
And at the end of the first day he took me home to 
his house, where he lived in honourable condition 
with his beautiful wife and children. Calling to 
mind the grief which my good father might be suffer- 
ing on my account, I wrote to him that I was in the 
house of an honest man, whose name was Ulivieri 
della Chiostra, under whom I was doing very fine 
and important work. I bade him keep his mind 
easy, for I hoped to learn much, and by my attain- 
ments to win ere long what would bring him profit 
and honour. My dear father answered my letter at 
once, saying, " My son, such is the love I bear you, 
that were it not for our honour, wh'*«h above all 
things I respect, I should have set out without delay 
to come to you ; for of a truth I seem to be without 
the light of my eyes when I do not see you every day 
as has been my wont. I shall stay here, therefore, 
for the right conduct of my home affairs, and you 
meanwhile will give yourself to the perfection of your 
art. Only, I wish you to keep in mind these two or 
three simple words, and observe them, and never 
forget them — 

In whatever house you'd stay. 
Keep your hands from theft alway.** 

xi. Now it happened that this letter fell into the 
hands of my master Ulivieri ; and, unbeknown to 
me, he read it. Afterwards he confessed having done 
so, saying, " And now, my Benvenuto, I was not 
deceived in your pleasant fece. This much I learn 
from a letter from your father, which has fallen into 


my hands. So now think of yourself as in your own 
home, and with your own father." 

While I was in Pisa I used to go and see the 
Campo Santo ; and there I found many fine antique 
marble sarcophagi. Also in other places in Pisa I 
found beautiful antiques, which I studied zealously 
every day when I could be spared from the labours of 
the workshop. And when my master paid me visits 
in the little room he had given me, and came to 
know that I spent all my time so virtuously, he took 
as great a liking for me as if he had been my father. 
In the year I was with him I made a great advance, 
working in silver and gold, and at most important 
and beautiful things ; and this gave me the keenest 
desire to get on still further. My father, in the 
meantime, kept writing to me most piteously to 
return to him ; and in every letter he reminded me 
not to lose the music which had cost him so much 
trouble to teach me. Whereupon all desire to return 
to him left me, so much did I loathe that damnable 
playing on the flute ; and it seemed to me I was in 
Paradise the whole year I stayed in Pisa, where I 
never played at all. But when the year was up, 
Ulivieri, my master, had occasion to go to Florence 
to sell some gold and silver filings which he had. 
And as the unwholesome air had given me a little fever, 
I returned, before I had shaken it off, in my master's 
company to Florence. There my father gave him 
the heartiest welcome ; but, unknown to me, begged 
him piteously not to take me back. I was ill for 
about two months ; and my father had me treated 
and cared for most affectionately. But ever he would 
say it seemed to him a thousand years till I should be 
well enough to play a little to him on the flute. 
Now while he spoke to me of this, holding his hand 
on my pulse the while — for he had some knowledge 
of medicine and of Latin letters — he perceived such 
a great alteration in its beating the very moment he 



began speaking on the subject, that often he would 
go away from me terrified and weeping. Where- 
fore, one day, seeing his great unhappiness, though 
the fever was still upon me, I begged one of my 
sisters to bring me a flute, since it was the least 
fatiguing instrument of all, and did me no hurt. 
Then I played with so fine a touch of hand and lips 
that my father, coming in suddenly, blessed me a 
thousand times, and said he thought I had made 
great progress while I had been away. And he 
begged me to go on, and not to let so fine a talent 
run to waste. 

xii. As soon as I was well again I returned to my 
friend Marcone, the honest goldsmith, who gave me 
such good wages I was able to help my father and 
the rest of my family. About this time there arrived 
in Florence a sculptor called Piero Torrigiani. He 
had come from England, where he had lived for 
many years. Now he was a great friend of my 
master and paid him a visit every day ; and having 
seen my designs and my work, he said to me, " I have 
come to Florence to pick up as many young men as 
I can, for I have a great work in hand for my king, 
and I want the help of my own Florentines. Now 
your method of working and designing pertains more 
to sculpture than to the goldsmith's art ; so while 
you are helping me with a great work in bronze I 
have undertaken, I will make you both a skilful 
artist and a wealthy man. This Torrigiani was 
singularly handsome, with a bold bearing, and the air 
rather of a great soldier than of a sculptor, especially 
having regard to his commanding gestures and his 
fine sounding voice ; while his frown was enough to 
scare the bravest. And every day he would tell us 
of his ruffling it with those beasts of Englishmen. 
Now in talking of his adventures, he fell to speaking 
of Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, led to this by a 
drawing I had made from a cartoon of that most 


divine master. This cartoon was the first work in 
which Michel Agnolo displayed his great genius to 
the full ; and he made it in competition with another, 
namely Leonardo da Vinci. Both were for the 
Council Chamber of the Palace of the Signory. 
The subject was the taking of Pisa by the Florentines ; 
and the admirable Leonardo da Vinci had chosen to 
delineate a skirmish of horse-soldiers, with a capture 
of standards, all as divinely drawn as you can 
imagine. Michel Agnolo Buonarroti in his repre- 
sented a company of infantry bathing in the Arno, 
for it was summer time ; and he showed them just 
as there had sounded a call to arms, and the naked 
soldiers were running to the fight. So finely were 
the actions pourtrayed that neither amongst the 
ancients nor the moderns has ever been seen a work 
that reached so high a point of excellence. And 
so likewise, as I have said, the great Leonardo's 
was of marvellous beauty. One of these cartoons 
was placed in the Medici Palace and one in the 
Pope's Hall ; and while they could be seen there, 
they were the school of all the world. Although 
the divine Michel Agnolo afterwards decorated the 
great chapel of Pope Julius, he never came near that 
height again ; never again did his genius attain to 
the power of those early studies. 

xiii. And now to return to Piero Torrigiani, who, 
holding my drawing in his hand, spoke thus : "Buon- 
arroti and I, when we were lads, used to go to the 
Church of the Carmine to study in the chapel of 
Masaccio. Now Buonarroti had a habit of teasing all 
the rest of us who were drawing there ; and one day 
in particular he was annoying me, and I was more 
vexed than usual ; so I stretched out my hand and 
dealt him such a blow on the nose that I felt the 
bone and the cartilage yield under my fist as if they 
had been made of crisp wafer. And so he'll go 
with my mark upon him to his dying day." These 
B 21 


words roused such loathing in me — for I had ever 
before my eyes the works of the divine Michel 
Agnolo — that not only did I refuse to go with him 
to England, but I could not bear the sight of the 
man. While I was in Florence I took as my pattern 
the fine style of Michel Agnolo, and from that I 
have never wavered. 

In those days I was bound in close friendship with 
a charming young man of my own age, and was 
much in his company. He also was a goldsmith. 
His name was Francesco, and he was the son of 
Filippo, son of Fra Filippo, the most excellent 
painter. Our companionship bred so great an 
affection in us that we were never apart night or day. 
Then, too, his house was still full of fine studies from 
the hand of his distinguished father. Several books of 
these were there, taken from the splendid antiquities 
of Rome, and when I set eyes on them I also became 
enamoured of them. So for about two years we 
were the closest friends. 

At this time I made a low-relief in silver as big as 
a Httle child's hand. It was meant for the buckle of 
a man's belt, for they were then worn of that size. 
Carved on it was a cluster of leaves after the antique, 
with heads of cherubs and other charming masks. 
This work I made in the shop of one Francesco 
Salimbene. When it was shown about among the 
members of the goldsmith's guild, they boasted of 
me as the best young artist in the trade. Now there 
was a certain Giovanbatista, commonly known as 
Tasso, a wood-carver, a young man of my own age ; 
and one day he said to me that if I cared to go to 
Rome, he would willingly come with me. This 
talk we had together was just after dinner, and being 
angry with my father — music was as ever the cause 
— ^I said to Tasso, " Oh, but you're a man of words, 
not of deeds." Whereupon Tasso answered, " I, 
too, am on bad terms with my mother ; and if only 


I had the wherewithal to take me to Rome, I'd never 
go back to turn the key on that wretched little shop 
of mine." . To this I said that if he was only staying 
for that, I had on me as much as would take us both 
to Rome. So, talking all the time, we found our- 
selves at the gate of San Piero Gattolini before we 
knew where we were. Whereupon I said, " Tasso, 
my friend, it is God's doing our reaching this gate 
unawares. But now that I am here I feel as if I 
had gone half-way." And so it was agreed ; and as we 
went upon our road we said, "Oh, what will our 
old folks say to-night ? " Then we made a pact 
together not to think more about them till we had 
got to Rome. So, tying our aprons behind, we set 
off for Siena, with hardly a word to each other by the 
way. Having reached there, Tasso said his feet hurt 
him, and that he would rather not come farther ; and 
he asked me to lend him money to return. To which 
I answered, "There would not be enough left for 
me to go on with, so you should have thought well 
before you left Florence ; but if it be because of 
your feet you stop behind, we shall find a return-horse 
bound for Rome, and then you'll have no excuse." 
So I hired a horse ; but as he gave me no answer, 
I betook myself towards^ the Roman gate. Seeing 
that I had made up my mind, he limped along as 
well as he could, slowly and far behind me, and 
grumbling all the time. As soon as I had reached 
the gate I felt pity for my companion ; so I waited 
for him and set him on the crupper, saying, "What 
would our friends say of us to-morrow if, having left 
them to go to Rome, we had not the spirit to get 
past Siena ? " Then my good Tasso confessed I 
spoke the truth ; and as he was a cheerful fellow, he 
began to laugh and sing ; and so, singing and laugh- 
ing all the time, we made our way to Rome. I was 
just nineteen years old then, and so was the century. 
As soon as we reached Rome I placed myself in a 



workshop under a master called Firenzuola. His own 
name was Giovanni, but he came from Firenzuola in 
Lombardy, and he was a noted maker of plate, work- 
ing generally at things on a large scale. When I let 
him have a glance at the design of the clasp I had 
made in Florence with Salimbene, he was greatly 
pleased, and turning to one of his apprentices, a 
Florentine, Giannotto Giannotti by name, who had 
been with him several years, he said, " Here is one 
of the Florentines who know, and you are one of 
their incapable fools." At that moment I recognised 
Giannotto, and hastened to say a word to him ; for 
before he went to Rome we used often to draw 
together, and we had been on most intimate terms. 
But he was so mortified by the words his master had 
thrown at him that he declared he did not recognise 
me, nor know who I was. Indignant at his saying 
such a thing, I burst out, " O Giannotto, once mine 
own familiar friend ! Have we not often been 
together in such and such places ? Have we not 
drawn together, and eaten, drunk, and slept in your 
villa ? Yet I do not care whether you speak for me 
or not to this good man your master ; for I hope that, 
without any help from you, my own hands will bear 
witness as to who I am." 

xiv. When I had ended, Firenzuola, who was a 
most impulsive and fiery man, turned to Giannotto 
and said to him, " O you vile rascal ! Aren't you 
ashamed to behave like that to one who has been so 
close a comrade ? " And with the same impetuosity 
he wheeled round to me and spoke — "Come into 
the shop, and do as you have said : let your hands 
bear witness to the man you are." Then he set me 
to work on a very beautiful silver piece for a cardinal. 
This was a little box copied from the porphyry sar- 
cophagus which stands at the door of the Rotonda. 
Not content merely to copy the design, I enriched 
it with some charming masks done all out of my 



head j so that my master went about showing it 
through all the trade, and boasting of the skilled 
work that came out of his shop. It was about the 
size of half a cubit, and was meant for a salt-cellar 
for the table. This brought me the first of my 
earnings in Rome, Part of the money I sent to help 
my dear father ; the rest served to keep me while I 
went round studying the antiquities, till, my money 
coming to an end, I had to go back and work in the 
shop. My friend Batista del Tasso had not been 
long in Rome when he returned to FJorence. I 
took new works in hand j but the desire came upon 
me, as soon as I should have finished them, to change 
my master, being cajoled thereto by a certain Milan 
man called Maestro Pagolo Arsago. But Firenzuola, 
my first master, had hot words with this same Arsago, 
flinging insults at him in my presence ; whereupon 
I took up the cudgels for the latter, telling Firen- 
zuola I was born free, and that free I would live ; 
that of Arsago he had no reason to complain, and 
still less of me, for some crowns were owmg to 
me for my wages ; that as a free craftsman I should 
go wherever it pleased me, and doing so I wronged 
no one. Then my new master took up the word, 
saying he had never asked me to come, and that I 
should be doing him a pleasure if I were to return to 
Firenzuola. To this I retorted that I could not see 
I was doing him any wrong whatsoever, and that 
having finished the works I had begun, I wanted to 
be my own man and no one else's j and whoever 
wanted me might come and seek me. To which 
Firenzuola answered, " Pll not come and seek your 
services. And don't show your face here again on 
any account." When I reminded him of my money 
he laughed at me ; whereupon I said that well as I 
had worked at the making of those things he had 
seen, I should handle the sword no less well in the 
recovery of my rights. Now as we were disputing 



in this fashion, an old man chanced to come up to us, 
Messer Antonio da San Marino by name. He was 
the foremost of the goldsmiths of Rome, and had 
been Firenzuola's master. Hearing my case, which 
I stated plainly for their comprehension, he imme- 
diately took my part, and ordered Firenzuola to pay 
me. The quarrel grew fierce, for indeed Firenzuola 
shone more as a swordsman than as a goldsmith. 
Still justice made its way, though I helped its victory 
by my firm determination, so that I was paid at last. 
Some time after, the said Firenzuola and I became 
friends again j and at his request I was godfather to 
a child of his. 

XV. Continuing to work with Messer Pagolo 
Arsago, I earned good wages, and I always sent the 
bigger share to my good father. At the end of two 
years, moved by his prayers, I went back to Florence, 
and set myself once more to work with Francesco 
Sahmbene. With him I earned a very fair amount, 
and gave my mind to learning more of my art. I 
renewed my acquintance with Francesco di Filippo ; 
and though I was much given to pleasure, drawn 
thereto by that accursed music, I always kept certain 
hours of the day and night free for study. About this 
time I made a silver heart-key — for so were such things 
called in those days — which was a belt three fingers 
broad, to be worn by a bride. It was worked in 
half-rehef, with some little figures in the round ; and 
I made it for a man called Raffaello Lapaccini. 
Although I was very badly paid for it, the honour I 
gained came to more than the price it might fairly 
have brought me. By this time I had worked with 
many different persons in Florence, and had made 
the acquaintance of some honest men among the 
goldsmiths. Such an one was Marcone, my first 
master. But I knew others who had the name of 
honest men, yet who did their utmost against me in 
my work, and cheated me whenever they could. 


Perceiving this I kept aloof from them, holding them 
as scoundrelly thieves. But one of the goldsmiths, 
called Giovan Battista Sogliani, kindly obliged me 
with a part of his shop, which was at the corner oi 
the New Market, hard by the Landi's Bank. There 
I completed many fine pieces, and, making good 
earnings, was able to be of real service to my family. 
But my success roused the envy of some of those 
villains I had once had to do with, namely, Salvadore 
and Michele Guasconti, who owned three large gold- 
smith's shops, and did a deal of business. When, 
therefore, I saw that they bore me ill will, I laid my 
complaint before an honest man, saying they might 
be well content to have robbed me, as they had done 
under the cloak of pretended kindness. This coming 
to their ears, they boasted they would make me finely 
repent of my words ; but I, not knowing the colour 
of fear, minded their threats hardly at all. 

xvi. It happened one day I was leaning up against 
the shop of one of them. He called out to me, and 
began to speak in a half-scolding, half-bullying tone. 
I answered that if they had done their duty towards 
me I should have spoken of them as men of worth 
and honour are spoken of; since they had done the 
contrary, they should blame themselves and not me. 
While I stood there talking, one of the family, their 
cousin, called Gherardo Guasconti — perhaps at their 
instigation — waited till there came by a beast of 
burden with a load of bricks ; and when the beast 
was just opposite, shoved it on me with such force 
that I was much hurt. Turning suddenly and seeing 
that he was laughing, I dealt him such a blow with my 
fist on his temple that he fell in a dead faint. Then 
facing his cousin, I said, "That's what thieves and 
cowards of your sort get." They made as if to attack 
me, for they were numerous enough, and I whose blood 
was boiling, put my hand on a little knife I had, and 
roared, " If one of you dares come out of the shop, 


the other can run for the priest : there will be 
nothing left for the doctor to do ! " Such terror did 
these words strike into them that not one of them 
moved to their cousin*s aid. I had no sooner gone 
than the father and sons ran to the Eight, and told 
how I had attacked them with a sword in their shop, 
an unheard of thing in Florence. So the Eight 
Signors had me summoned ; and I appeared before 
them. They reproved me severely — perhaps because 
they saw me in a cloak, while the others wore their 
citizen's mantle and hood ; but also because my 
enemies had gone to those signers' houses to speak 
to them privately, and I, being inexperienced, had 
spoken to nobody, trusting solely in my own good 
cause. I pleaded that when Gherardo had grossly 
insulted me, I had been greatly moved to anger, yet 
did but give him a box on the ear ; and thus it did 
not seem to me I deserved so sharp a rebuke. 

Hardly had Prinzivalle della Stufa, who was of the 
Eight, heard me utter the word " box on the ear," 
than he said, " It was a blow you gave him : you did 
not box his ears." Then the bell was rung, and we 
were all sent out. In my defence Prinzivalle said to 
the company, " Consider, my lords, the simplicity of 
this poor fellow, who accuses himself of having boxed 
the other's ears, thinking it a less offence than a blow ; 
for the penalty of the former in the New Market is 
five and twenty crowns, and that of a blow little or 
nothing at all. He is a very clever young man, and 
generously maintains his own poor family by his 
work. Would to God that our city had many of 
his kind, instead of lacking them as it does ! " 

xvii. Among the Eight were some Puritan fellows, 
with the tails of their hoods twisted up ; and they, 
moved by the appeals and the lying tales of my 
enemies, and also because they were of Fra Girolamo's 
faction, would willingly have sent me to prison, and 
condemned me without mercy. But good Prinzivalle 


prevented that. So they let me ofF with a fine of 
four bushels of flour to be given in alms to the 
Murate Convent. As soon as we were called in, he 
ordered me not to speak a word under pain of their 
displeasure, and to obey the sentence they had passed. 
Then administering to me a sharp rebuke, they sent 
us to the Chancellor, I grumbling all the time, " It 
was a box on the ear, not a blow," so that we left 
the Eight laughing heartily. The Chancellor, on 
the part of the magistrates, ordered us both to find 
security ; but only I was condemned to pay the four 
bushels of flour. I felt outraged ; nevertheless, I 
sent for one of my cousins, who was called Maestro 
Annibale the surgeon, the father of Messer Librodoro 
Librodori, begging him to stand security for me. 
But he would not come. At this I was furious, and 
in my rage I swelled like an asp, and resolved on a 
desperate thing. Here may verily be seen how the 
stars do not so much influence as compel our ways. 
When I thought under what obligations Annibale 
lay to our house, my anger grew to such a degree 
that I let my evil passion have its way — and then, 
too, by nature I am somewhat choleric. Thus I 
waited till the company of the Eight had gone to 
dinner ; and then, left to myself, and seeing that 
none of them had their eye on me, I went out of the 
palace in a fever of rage, and ran home to my shop. 
There I picked up a stiletto, and rushed to my 
enemies' house, which was above their shop. I 
found them at table ; and young Gherardo, who had 
been the beginning of the quarrel, threw himself 
upon me at my entrance. Thereupon I stabbed him 
in the breast, right through his doublet and vest to 
his shirt, but did not touch his flesh, nor do him any 
injury whatsoever. Only, seeing the dagger dis- 
appear, and hearing the tearing of his clothes, I thought 
I had wounded him sorely ; and, as he fell from 
sheer terror to the ground, I shouted, " O traitors, 
B * 29 


this is the day appointed unto me to murder you all ! " 
The father, mother, and sisters, thinking that it was 
the Day of Judgment, threw themselves at once on 
their knees, calling for mercy with all their lungs. 
Seeing they made no resistance, and looking at the 
the man stretched out on the floor like a corpse, 1 felt 
it would be too vile a thing to lay hands on them. 
But, still furious, I rushed to the stairs and, having 
reached the street, I found all the rest of the house- 
hold assembled there, more than a dozen in all. One 
had an iron shovel, another carried a big iron pipe, 
others hammers, anvils, and sticks. Like a mad bull 
I rushed into their midst, knocked down four or five 
of them, and fell with them, but dealing dagger-thrusts 
all the time, now here, now there. Those who kept 
their feet pressed in on me as hard as they could, 
having at me with both hands with their hammers, 
their anvils, and their cudgels. But as God in his 
mercy sometimes intervenes, it so pleased Him that 
they did not do me, nor did I do them, the very least 
harm in the world. Only my cap was left on the 
field, and that my enemies bore off, each of them 
digging at it with his weapon — though they had 
fought shy of it before. Then they looked among 
their company for the dead and wounded ; and, lo, 
every man of them was safe and sound ! 

xviii. I was on the road to Santa Maria Novella 
when I suddenly hit up against Frate Alesso Strozzi, 
whom I did not know. Yet I begged this good 
brother, for the love of God, to save my life, for I 
had committed a great crime. The honest friar told 
me to fear nothing ; that though I had done all the 
evil in the world, in his little cell I should be 
altogether safe. Nearly an hour passed, and the 
Eight, who had been called together for an extra- 
ordinary sitting, sent out one of the most terrible 
proclamations against me that ever was heard, and 
threatened the severest penalties against whoever 



should shelter me or know of my whereabouts, 
without regard to the place, or to the quality of him 
who should give me refuge. My poor afflicted 
father ran to the Eight, threw himself on his knees 
before them, and begged mercy for his unhappy 
young son. Then stood up one of those fanatics, 
and tossing the crest of his twisted hood, spoke these 
insulting words to the poor old man, " Get up," he 
said, "and out with you ! For to-morrow morning 
we shall send him out of town by the lances." 
Then my father answered haughtily, "What God 
has ordained, that shall you do, and nothing more " ; 
whereupon the man answered that of a certainty 
God had so ordained. And my father replied, " I 
comfort myself with the thought that you have no 
knowledge of what shall happen." Leaving them, 
he came in search of me, along with a youth of my 
own age, Piero, the son of Giovanni Landi. We 
loved each other better than if we had been brothers. 
This young man carried under his mantle a magnifi- 
cent sword and a splendid coat of mail. Having 
found me, my brave father told me how things were, 
and what the Eight had said to him. Then he 
kissed me on the forehead and on the two eyes, and 
blessed me from his heart, saying, " The strength of 
God be your aid ! " Bringing me the sword and 
armour, he helped me with his own hands to put 
them on. And said he, " O my good son, armed 
with these you live or die." Pier Landi, who was 
with us, could not stop weeping. He gave me ten 
golden crowns ; and I asked him to pluck out some 
hairs from my chin, the first traces of my beard. 
Then Frate Alesso dressed me like a friar, and sent 
a lay brother along with me as guide. Leaving the 
convent, I went out of the city by the Prato gate 
and along the walls till I came to the Piazza of San 
Gallo ; and having climbed the Montui hill, I found 
in one of the first houses a man called Grassuccio, 



brother to Messer Benedetto da Monte Varchi. Off 
I threw my frock, and was a man again. Then my 
companion and I mounted the two horses waiting 
for us, and went away through the night to Siena. 
There Grassuccio left me, returned to Florence, 
saluted my father, and told him I had reached safetv. 
My father rejoiced greatly thereat ; and he could 
hardly wait till he found that one of the Eight who 
had girded at him. Finding him at last, he said, 
" Do you see, Antonio, that it was God who knew 
what should befall my son, and not you ? " " Wait 
till we catch him again," said the other ; and my 
father rejoined, " In the meanwhile I will give my 
mind to thanking God who has saved him now." 

xix. At Siena I waited for the courier to Rome, 
and went along with him. When we had passed 
the Paglia, we met the messenger who carried the 
news of the election of the new Pope, Clement VIL 
Once at Rome, I set to work in Maestro Santi the 
goldsmith's shop. Although Santi was dead, one of 
his sons kept on the place ; but he did not work 
himself, and all the business was carried on by a 
young man, called Luca Agnolo of Jesi, a peasant, 
who had come as quite a little lad to work with 
Maestro Santi. This Luca Agnolo was short of 
stature, but well proportioned. He worked more 
skilfully than any man I had ever seen till then, with 
the greatest ease, too, and with infinite fancy, but 
only on large pieces, on fine vases, basins, and such 
like things. Setting to work in this shop, I took in 
hand some candlesticks for a Spaniard, the Bishop of 
Salamanca. These candlesticks were as richly 
worked as such things can be. Now, there was a 
pupil of RafFaello da Urbino, called Gianfrancesco, 
nicknamed II Fattore. He was a great friend of 
this bishop, and got me into his good graces, too, 
so that I obtained a great many commissions from 
the dignitary, and made a very good living. In 



those days I used to go and draw, now in the chapel 
of Michel Agnolo, and now in the house of Agostino 
Chigi, the Sienese, where there were a great many- 
beautiful paintings from the hand of the most 
excellent RafFaello of Urbino. There I went on 
holidays, for Gismondo, brother of Messer Agostino 
Chigi, lived in the palace ; and they were very proud 
when young men of my standing were seen studying 
in their houses. The wife of Messer Gismondo had 
often seen me there — a most noble lady was she, and 
of wonderful beauty — and so one day she approached 
me, and, looking at my drawings, asked me if I were 
a sculptor or a painter. I answered the lady that I 
was a goldsmith. Whereupon she said that I drew 
too well for a goldsmith ; and she ordered one of her 
maids to fetch a lily of wonderful diamonds set in 
gold. Showing it to me, she begged me to price it. 
I estimated the value to be eight hundred crowns, and 
she told me that I had valued it very exactly. Then 
she asked me if I had a mind to contrive a fine new 
setting for it. " Right willingly," said I ; and there 
and then drew a little sketch of the design. And my 
skill was the greater for my pleasure in dealing with 
this lovely and most pleasant lady. When I had 
finished the design, in came another noble Roman 
lady, who was also very beautiful. She had been 
upstairs, and now, coming down, she asked Madonna 
Porzia what she was doing, who answered, smiling, 
" I am amusing myself in watching this worthy 
young man at his drawing, for he is both honest and 
comely." By this time I had summoned up some 
boldness, yet was it still mixed with a trifle of shy 
modesty, and I blushed as I said, "Whatever I am, 
Madonna, I shall ever be most ready for your service." 
The lady also reddened a little as she added, "You 
know well that I desire your service," and handing 
me the lily, told me to take it away. Moreover, she 
gave me twenty gold crowns which she had in her 



pocket, saying, "Set the jewel for me according to 
the design you have made, and return to me the old 
gold of its present setting." Then the other Roman 
lady said, "If I were in that young man's shoes, Vd 
soon make ofF with it." Whereupon Madonna 
Porzia rejoined that virtues rarely exist alongside 
vices, and that if I were to do such a thing I should 
much belie my honest face. Then, turning away, she 
took the Roman gentlewoman's hand and said, with 
a pleasant smile, " Adieu, Benvenuto ! " I stopped 
for some time busy on the drawing I had in hand, 
which was a copy of a figure of Jupiter by RaiFaello 
of Urbino. As soon as I had finished I set ofF for 
home, and began to make a little model of wax, to 
show how the thing would look in the end. This I 
took to Madonna Porzia. The Roman lady who 
had been there before was again present, and both, 
greatly pleased with my labours, showed me such 
favour that, gathering some boldness, I promised 
them the work should be twice as good as the model. 
Then I set about the thing, and in twelve days I 
had finished the lily-shaped jewel, adorning it with 
little masks, cherubs, animals, all of them charmingly 
enamelled, so that the diamonds which made the 
lily looked ever so much better than before. 

XX. Now while I was working at this piece, that 
clever Lucagnolo, of whom I have spoken above, 
showed his strong disapproval of me ; and many a time 
did he tell me that I would earn much more profit 
and honour by helping him to make great silver vases, 
as I had done in the beginning. To this I replied 
that I should be capable of making these whenever I 
had a mind j but as for the kind of thing I was doing, 
it did not come in one's way every day ; that it was 
no less honourable than what he proposed, and a great 
deal more profitable. At this Lucagnolo laughed, 
saying, "Let's wait and see, Benvenuto. By the 
time you have finished your work I shall endeavour 



to have finished the vase I began at the same time as 
you did the jewel ; and experience will prove to you 
what profit I draw from my work, and what can be 
made from yours." It was a great pleasure, I replied, 
to engage in such a contest with so able a man as he, 
and in the end it would be seen which of us was 
mistaken. And so both of us, smiling somewhat 
disdainfully at each other, set our faces proudly to 
our tasks, and so eager were we for their completion, 
that at the end of ten days we had each finished our 
own with great skill and elegance. Lucagnolo*s was 
a very large vase designed for the table of Pope 
Clement, into which at dinner-time were thrown 
bones and the rinds of fruits. It was made rather 
for display than necessity. The vase was adorned 
with two fine handles, v/ith masks both big and little, 
and clumps of beautiful foliage, and all worked with 
such perfect grace and art that I declared it to be the 
finest thing of the kind I had ever seen. Whereupon 
Lucagnolo, thinking he had convinced me of my 
mistake, said, " Your own work seems just as beautiful 
to me ; but soon we shall see the difference between 
them." So, taking up his vase, he carried it to the 
Pope, who was entirely satisfied with it, and ordered 
him to be paid at once according to the standard of 
payment for works on that scale. Meanwhile I took 
my jewel to the lady. Madonna Porzia, who was 
altogether astonished, and said I had far surpassed the 
promise I had made her. Then she went on to say 
I might ask whatever I liked for my pains, for to her 
mind my deserts were such that, were she to give mc 
a castle, she would hardly think me paid. But since 
that she could not give me, she continued with a 
smile, I must ask something within her means. 
To this I replied that I could imagine no better 
reward than to have satisfied her ladyship. Then 1, 
too, smiling, made her a reverence and took my 
leave, saying I desired no other recompense. Thereat 



Madonna Porzia turned to the Roman lady, and said, 
"See you, those virtues we believed to be in him 
keep good company, and have no dealings urith vice." 
And both of them were astonished. Then said 
Madonna Porzia, " Benvenuto, my friend, have you 
never heard the saying that when the poor man gives 
to the rich, the Devil laughs ? " Whereupon I 
answered, "Well, he has a deal of trouble, and for 
once I'd like to see him merry ; " but she rejoined, 
as I was going away, that on this occasion she had no 
desire to do him any such good turn. When I got 
back to my shop, Lucagnolo had the money for his 
vase in a little packet, and when I came in he said, 
" Now, as a test, put your earnings for the jewel side 
by side with mine from the vase." But I asked 
him to keep his money intact till next day. Then, 
inasmuch as my work was, of its kind, no less fine 
than his, I hoped to convince him so would be its 

xxi. Next day Madonna Porzia sent her steward 
to my shop. He called me outside, and put into my 
hand a paper cornet full of money from his mistress, 
with a message that she did not wish the Devil to 
have all the fun ; and explaining that what she had 
sent was not the full payment which my labours 
deserved — with many other courtesies of speech be- 
fitting such a lady. Lucagnolo, to whom it seemed 
a thousand years till he might compare his packet 
with mine, that very instant dashed into the shop, 
where a dozen workmen and neighbours were 
gathered, all eager to see the upshot of the contest. 
Taking up his packet with a scornful laugh, and 
saying, " Ou ! ou ! " over and over again, he poured 
the money noisily out on the counter. There were 
hve-and-twenty giulio crowns, and he thought to 
himself that my payment might come to four or five 
crowns di moneta. Hardly able to endure his cries, 
the mocking glances and the laughing of the by- 



standers, I gave a peep into my parcel, and saw that 
there was nothing in it but gold. So going to one 
end of the counter, keeping my eyes cast down the 
while, as quietly as possible I raised my packet high 
with both my hands, and made the money run out 
as if from a mill-hopper. Mine was twice as much 
as his ; so that all the bystanders, who had been 
fixing somewhat disdainful eyes on me, now turned 
on him with cries of, " Lucagnolo, Benvenuto's coins 
are gold, and twice as many as yours, and they make 
a much better show ! " I thought that from envy 
and shame the poor fellow would have fallen dead 
there and then. And though a third part of my 
money would come to him, for I was but his work- 
man — and such is the custom that the workman 
receives two-thirds and the rest goes to the master 
of the shop — yet wild envy was stronger in him than 
avarice, though it should have been just the opposite, 
seeing that Lucagnolo was the son of a peasant of 
Jesi. Now he cursed his own art and those who 
had taught it to him, saying that from this time 
forward he would work no more at these big things, 
but would give himself entirely to silly toys like 
mine, since they were so well paid. I, not a whit 
less angry, remarked that every bird sang its own 
song, and that his speech reeked of the low shanty 
he was born in. I stoutly maintained that I could 
succeed admirably in turning out such clumsy rubbish 
as his, while he would never attain to skill in my 
dainty toys. Then I left him in a rage, promising 
to prove my words ere long. The bystanders blamed 
him loudly, looking on him as the boor he was, and 
holding me for the man I had shown myself to be. 

xxii. Next day I went to thank Madonna Porzia. 
But I told her ladyship she had done just the con- 
trary of what she had said ; for I had wished to make 
the Devil merry, and she had made him once more 
deny God. And so we laughed together pleasantly ; 



and she gave me other fine and important pieces of 
work to do for her. 

In the meanwhile, through a pupil of RafFaello of 
Urbino the painter, I got a commission from the 
Bishop of Salamanca to make a great water- pot, of 
the kind called acquereccia^ which serve as sideboard 
ornaments. The bishop wished to have two made 
of the same size, and commissioned Lucagnolo to 
make one, and me the other \ and for the moulding 
of the vases we got a design from the painter Gian- 
francesco, whom I have just mentioned. 

So I took the vase in hand with all the energy 
possible ; and a Milan man, called Maestro Giovan- 
piero della Tasca, was good enough to give me a 
corner of his shop to work in. There I made my 
preparations, calculated the money I should need 
for some affairs I had in hand, and all the rest I sent 
to succour my good father. When he was on his 
way to cash it in Florence, he chanced on that 
fanatic who had been of the Eight when I had got 
into that little trouble, the very man who had insulted 
him by saying I was, of a certainty, going to be sent 
into the country with the lances. Now this fanatic 
had worthless sons, and so my father said to him, 
" Any man may get into trouble, especially a hot- 
tempered one, if he feel himself to be in the right, as 
my son did. But look at the rest of his life, and see 
how virtuously I have brought him up. I pray God 
in your behalf that your sons behave neither better 
nor worse to you than mine do to me. For God has 
enabled me to train them well ; and when my own 
strength could not avail. He Himself saved them for 
me out of your violent hands, and that when you 
least expected it." And so leaving him, my father 
went and wrote all this to me, begging me for the 
love of God to play sometimes on my flute, and not 
waste the fine art which he had been at such pains 
to teach me. The letter was full of the most loving 



and fatherly words imaginable ; so that it moved me 
to pious tears, and filled me with the desire that, 
before he died, I might satisfy him fully on the 
count of music. So does God grant us all the law- 
ful desires which we ask of Him in faith. 

xxiii. While I was hard at work on Salamanca's fine 
vase I had as my sole help a little lad, whom, at the 
earnest prayers of friends, and half against my own 
will, I had taken as apprentice. This child, who 
was about fourteen years old, was called Paolino, and 
he was the son of a Roman citizen, who lived on his 
rents. He was the best bred, the most honest, and 
the handsomest boy I have ever seen in my life ; and 
for his modest ways and habits, his wonderful beauty, 
and the great affection he bore me, I loved him with 
all the love the heart of man can hold. This tender- 
ness drew me once more to music, that I might sit 
and watch his lovely face, naturally so modest and so 
melancholy, lighten at the sound. For when I took 
up my cornet, there dawned there a smile so charm- 
ing and so beautiful that I in nowise wonder at those 
fables which the Greeks wrote of the divine gods. 
Indeed, had Paolino lived in those days, perhaps he 
would have set them fabling still more extravagantly. 
Now Paolino had a sister called Faustina ; and I 
think that the other Faustina, of whom there is such 
a talk in the ancient books, never was so fair. Some- 
times he brought me home to their vineyard, and, so 
far as I could judge, that worthy man, his father, 
would have willingly had me for his son-in-law. All 
this made me play a great deal more than I had been 
doing. It happened at that time that a certain 
Giangiacomo, a fifer from Cesena, who was in the 
Pope's household, and a most admirable musician, 
sent word to me by Lorenzo, the trumpeter from 
Lucca — who to-day is in the service of our Duke — 
asking if I would help them for the Pope's Ferra- 
gosto by playing the soprano part on my cornet in 



certain lovely movements they had chosen for that 
day. Although I had the greatest desire to finish 
the fine vase I had begun, yet, since music has a 
marvellous power, and also that I might give some 
satisfaction to my old father, I consented to play in 
their company. So for eight days before the Ferra- 
gosto, and every day for two hours, we rehearsed 
together. Then on the appointed day in August we 
went to the Belvedere, and while Pope Clement 
dined we played our well-rehearsed movements in 
such a fashion that the Pope declared he had never 
heard music more sweetly played, or more harmoni- 
ously. Calling Giangiacomo to him, he asked him 
where and how he had managed to procure so good a 
soprano cornet, and inquired most minutely who I was. 
Giangiacomo told him my name with all exactness, 
to which the Pope rejoined, "So he is the son of 
Maestro Giovanni ? " And he was told that it was 
so. Then the Pope said he wished to have me in 
his service among the other musicians. But Gian- 
giacomo replied, " Most holy father, I have no hope 
of procuring him for you -, for his profession, to 
which he gives the whole of his time, is the gold- 
smith's art, wherein he works with wonderful skill, 
drawing from it much more profit than he would 
from music." Then said the Pope, " I want him all 
the more for his having a talent over and above the 
one I looked for. Settle on him the same salary you 
others have, and tell him from me to enter my 
service, and that I will give him quite enough daily 
employment in his other profession." Then he 
handed him a hundred gold crowns of the Camera in 
a handkerchief, saying, " Divide them so that he 
may have his share." Giangiacomo left the Pope 
and came and told me exactly all that his Holiness 
had said to him. Then he divided the money among 
the eight of us ; and as he gave me my share said, " I 
am going to inscribe you in the number of our com- 


pany." To which I answered, " Leave it for to-day ; 
and to-morrow I shall give you the answer." When 
I left them, I went on my way wondering if I should 
accept the proposal, knowing how harmful it would 
be, were I distracted from the great studies of my art. 
The night following, my father appeared to me in a 
dream, and with most loving tears, begged me for 
the love of God and of himself, to consent. In my 
dream I seemed to answer him that I would have 
nothing to do with it. Then suddenly I saw him in 
horrible guise, so that I was terrified, and he said, 
" If you refuse, your father's curse shall rest upon 
you. If you consent, you shall ever be blessed of 
me." Waking up, in sheer fright I ran and had my 
name put down ; and then I wrote to my old father, 
who, out of his excessive joy, fell into a sickness 
which brought him to the verge of death. But 
before long he wrote me that he, too, had had almost 
the same dream as myself. 

xxiv. Now I had satisfied the modest wish of my 
dear father, methought all my affairs should advance 
to an honoured and glorious fulfilment. So I set 
myself with the greatest energy to finish the vase 
which I had begun for Salamanca. This bishop was 
a wonderful man, very rich, but most difficult to 
satisfy. Every day he sent to see what I had done ; 
and every time his messenger did not find me, Sala- 
manca fell into the greatest fury, swearing that he 
would take away the work from me and give it to 
another to finish. And that damnable music was at 
the root of all the mischief. Still, with the greatest 
application I kept at the thing by day and by night ; 
and when it reached a point where it might be 
shown, I took it to the bishop. But this only 
whetted his desire to see it finished, and I repented 
having let him get a sight of it. At the end of 
three months I had completed the thing, having 
worked on it all the loveliest little animals and leaves 



and figures you can imagine. Without delay I sent 
it by the hands of my boy Paolino to that clever man 
Lucagnolo, of whom I have spoken above. And 
Paolino, with his infinite grace and beauty, spake 
thus : " Messer Lucagnolo, Benvenuto, mindful of his 
promises, sends you this as a sample of his work in 
your own gross manner, hoping that you have some 
of his own silly toys to show him in return." When 
he had made an end, Lucagnolo took the vase in his 
hands, and looking at it long, he said to Paolino, 
*' My pretty boy, tell your master that he is a very 
clever man, and that I beg him to be my friend ; and 
let's forget the past." And very gladly did the 
modest and charming boy bring back the message. 
When the vase was taken home, Salamanca wished 
it to be valued. At this valuation Lucagnolo was 
present, and he estimated it very high, praising it far 
above my own opinion of it. Then taking it in his 
hands, Salamanca, in true Spanish fashion, said, " I 
swear to God that I will put off paying him just as 
long as he has made me wait for it." Hearing this 
I was very ill pleased, and cried a murrain upon Spain 
and whoever wished it well. 

Among its other fine ornaments, the vase had a 
handle all of a piece, and most elaborately contrived, 
which, by means of a spring, would stand right above 
the mouth. One day Monsignor, from sheer vanity, 
was showing the vase to some Spanish gentlemen ; 
and when his back was turned, one of them touched 
the handle very carelessly, and the delicate spring, which 
was not made to stand such clumsiness, broke in his 
hand. Seeing the damage he had done, he begged 
the butler who had charge of it to take it at once to 
the master who had made it, that it might be repaired 
without delay, promising any price that might be 
asked, if only it could be mended at once. Having 
got the vase back into my hands, I gave the desired 
promise, and repaired the thing. It had been 



brought to me before dinner, and two hours before 
sundown the messenger came back all of a sweat 
from having run the whole way, Monsignor having 
asked for it again to show to some other gentlemen. 
Indeed, the butler did not let me utter a word with 
his " Quick, quick ! Let's have the vase." Where- 
upon I determined to take my own time, and not to 
let it out of my hands. So I said I was in no hurry 
to give it up. Then the servant got into a terrible 
fury, and made as if to pull out his sword with one 
hand, and with the other to force his way into the 
shop. But this at once I put a stop to with my own 
weapon, crying fiercely to him the while, "I shall 
not give it you. Go and tell Monsignor your master 
that I want the money for my work before it goes 
out of this shop." The man, seeing nothing was to 
be gained by bullying, began to beseech me as if he 
were appealing to the Cross, promising that if only I 
would give it to him he would see after the pay- 
ment. But these words turned me not at all from 
my purpose, and I only repeated what I had said. 
At last, despairing of the business, he swore he would 
come with a great band of Spaniards and cut me in 
pieces. Then off he went running j while I, who 
thought there might be something in this threat of 
their assassinating me, determined bravely to defend 
my life. So I loaded an excellent little fowling-piece 
which I used for sport, saying to myself, " Who robs 
me of my goods and my labours may take my life as 
well." While I was arguing the matter with my- 
self, up came a band of Spaniards headed by their 
majordomo, who with Spanish insolence ordered 
them to go in, take away the vase, and give me a 
good drubbing. Hearing this, I pointed my loaded 
gun at them, and shouted " Infidels ! Traitors ! 
Do you dare thus attack houses and shops in a great 
city like Rome ? As many of you thieves as come 
near this door I will shoot dead with this gun ! " And 

43 .^ 


taking aim at their leader, and making as if to draw 
the trigger, I cried, " And you, you thief, who are 
^SS^^S them on, you shall be the first to fall." 
Whereupon he stuck his spurs into his jennet and 
made ofF as hard as he could. All the neighbours 
rushed out at the noise ; and some Roman gentlemen 
who were passing, cried, "Knock these infidels 
down ! We're on your side." These words were 
said in such good earnest that the Spaniards took to 
flight ; and they were forced to tell the whole affair 
to Monsignor. He, being a very haughty man, rated 
all those servants and officers of his soundly for 
having gone . to such an extreme, and also for not 
having seen the thing through once they had begun 
it. Just then the painter who had had to do with 
the affair came in ; and Monsignor bade him go and 
tell me that, if I did not bring the vase at once, there 
would not be much left of me after he had finished ; 
but that if I returned it he would pay me promptly. 
This did not frighten me in the least, and I let him 
know I should go straight and tell the Pope. How- 
ever, his wrath and my fear both somewhat passed 
off; and certain great Roman noblemen gave me 
their word that the bishop would not injure me. And 
having the assurance, too, of being paid for my work, 
I provided myself with a great dagger, put on my 
coat of mail, and arrived at Monsignor's house. All 
his household were assembled when I entered, 
Paolino after me, carrying the silver vase. It was 
Hke nothing more or less than passing through the 
Zodiac — for one was like a lion, another like a 
scorpion, and another like a crab — till at last we 
reached the presence of that scoundrelly prelate, who 
sputtered out all the priestly Spanish rubbish you can 
imagine. But I never raised my head to look at 
him, nor answered ever a word, at which his anger 
seemed to grow. Then telling them to bring me 
writing materials, he ordered me to write with my 



own hand that I was well satisfied with his payment 
of me. At that I raised my head and said right 
willingly would I do so, when I had seen the colour 
of his money. The bishop fumed with rage, and 
insults and abuse rained thick. But in the end I 
got my money, wrote the acknowledgment, and, 
pleased and happy, went my way. 

XXV. Later, Pope Clement — who had seen the vase 
before this, though it was not shown him as my work 
— heard of the affair. He was much pleased with me, 
and sang my praises loud, saying publicly that he 
wished me all success. So Monsignor Salamanca was 
very sorry for having bullied me as he had done j and 
that we might* be friends again, he sent me word by 
the same painter that he would fain give me a great 
deal of important work to do. To this I replied that 
I was quite wiUing ; but should like to be paid in 
advance. This, too, came to the ears of Pope 
Clement, and made him laugh heartily. Cardinal 
Cibo was with him at the time, and the Pope told 
him the whole story of my dispute with the bishop. 
Then turning to one of his ministers, he bade him to 
give me constant employment for the palace. Car- 
dinal Cibo sent for me, and after some pleasant talk, 
he ordered a vase from me larger than Salamanca's. 
So did Cardinal Cornarc and many others of the 
College, especially Ridolfi and Salviati. I had com- 
missions from all of them, so that my earnings were 
very good. Madonna Porzia, of whom I have already 
spoken, advised me to open a shop of my own ; and 
this I did. Indeed, I never stopped working for that 
noble and most worthy gentlewoman, who paid me 
handsomely, and to whom I probably owed my chance 
of showing the world I was good for something. I 
became very friendly with Signor Gabriele Ceserino, 
Gonfalonier of Rome ; and for him I did a great deal 
of work, amongst other notable things a large gold 
medal to wear in a hat. The engraved design on it 



was Leda with her swan. Being much pleased with 
my work, he said he would like to have it valued so 
that I might be fairly paid. But the medal had been 
made with great skill, and the valuers in the trade 
put a much higher price on it than he had thought it 
would cost. And so I kept the medal in my own 
hands, and got nothing at all for my pains. This 
aiFair of the medal turned out very like that of Sala- 
manca's vase ; but that these matters may not take 
up space which belongs to more important things, I 
shall pass them over briefly. 

xxvi. Even though I break off a little from the 
story of my professional career, I must — since I am 
writing my hfe — tell shortly something of other 
matters, though not in minute detail. Well, one St. 
John's morning I was dining with some of my com- 
patriots of diverse professions — painters, sculptors, and 
goldsmiths. Among the notable men were Rosso 
the painter, and Gianfrancesco, a pupil of RafFaello 
of Urbino. There were others, too. I had assembled 
them at our meeting-place very informally, and we 
were all laughing and jesting as men will do when 
they get together to rejoice on such a great festival. 
Now there happened to pass the house a feather- 
brained, blustering youth, who was a soldier belonging 
to the company of Signor Rienzo da Ceri. Hearing 
our noise he made mock of us, and cast insults on our 
Florentine nation. Since I was the host of all those 
distinguished men, it seemed right to take the insults 
to myself. So quietly, without any one seeing me, I 
went out and accosted the fellow. He had one of his 
loose women with him, and he was going on with his 
ribald jesting to make her laugh. Going up to him, 
I asked him if it was he had been bold enough to 
speak ill of the Florentines ; and he flashed back, 
" Yes, I'm the man." Hearing which, I up with 
my hand and struck him in the face, saying, " Well, 
and I'm the other man." In a trice each of us had 



out his sword ; but our fight had no sooner begun 
than people came between us, though most of them 
took my part rather than his, convinced by what they 
heard and saw that I was in the right. Next day a 
challenge from him was brought to me, which I 
received very gladly, saying this was a thing I could 
put through much more speedily than anything per- 
taining to my own business. So without delay I 
went off to take counsel with a veteran called Bevi- 
lacqua, who had the name of being the first swords- 
man in Italy — for in his time he had fought more 
than twenty duels, and come out of them all with 
honour. This worthy man was a great friend of 
mine. I was known to him as a goldsmith, and, 
besides, he had been mediator between me and others 
in certain serious quarrels. So now with right good 
will he said, " Benvenuto, my friend, if Mars had 
challenged you, I'm sure you'd come out of the busi- 
ness with honour ; for in all the years I have known 
you, I have never seen you enter a quarrel without 
right on your side." So he undertook my affair. 
Then we went armed to the appointed place ; but 
no blood was shed. My enemy sought for peace, 
and I came out of the thing with great credit. I 
shall go into no more particulars, for though they 
would be very interesting of their kind, I shall rather 
keep my words to speak of my art, which is the thing 
that has drawn me on to all this scribbling. And 
about that I have only too much to say. 

Although, moved by an honest ambition, I was 
desirous to do some other work which should be as 
good as, or even surpass, that of the able man 
Lucagnolo, yet I never forsook my own delightful 
jeweller's art ; so that between one thing and another 
a great deal of profit and honour accrued to me, and 
in both arts I worked constantly, copying no man's 
designs. In those days there lived in Rome a very 
clever Perugian, Lautizio by name, who worked only 



in one branch of art, where he was unique in all the 
world. Now in Rome every cardinal has a seal, on 
which is stamped his title. These seals are about the 
size of a twelve-year-old child's hand ; and, as I have 
just said, the cardinal's title is cut on them along 
with diverse figure ornaments. For a good seal of 
the kind a hundred crowns, or even more, would be 
paid. Now I felt spurred to an honourable rivalry 
with this man also, though his art was far removed 
from the goldsmith's business — which, indeed, was 
the reason why Lautizio knew no other craft save 
seal-making. So I set myself to practise this one, and 
although I found it very difficult, yet I never tired of 
the labour it imposed on me, and gave all my energies 
to profit and to progress. There was another most 
excellent and clever man in Rome, who hailed from 
Milan, Messer Caradosso by name. He worked only 
at medals chiselled on thin plates and such- like 
things i paxes, for instance, in half-relief, and various 
Christs of the length of your palm, made of the 
thinnest gold plates, and so skillfully worked that I 
looked on him as the best master in this line I had 
ever seen, and envied him more than any one else. 
Then again there were masters who worked at medals 
cut in steel, which are patterns and absolute guides 
to whoever would perfect himself in the art of coin- 
making. And all those diverse crafts I set myself to 
learn with the greatest eagerness. Then think of 
the charming art of enamelling, which I never saw 
better done by any one than by a Florentine called 
Amerigo, whom I did not know, but whose marvellous 
works I was well acquainted with. Nowhere have 
I seen any one who came near him in genius. And 
to this kind of work I betook myself with energy, 
though it is exceedingly difficult, having regard to 
the fire to which the finished works must be sub- 
jected, and which often utterly ruins them. But 
though I found it no easy matter, yet such pleasure 



did I take in it that its great difficulties were a rest 
to me. And this sprang from a special gift lent me 
by the God of Nature, a temperament so healthy and 
well-proportioned that I could confidently carry 
out whatever I had made up my mind to do. These 
arts I have been speaking of are entirely different 
from one another, so that a man skilled in one of 
them rarely attains to equal success in any other, 
whereas I strove with my whole strength after them 
equally ; and in its own place I shall show that I 

xxvii. At this time, when I was a young man of 
twenty-three or thereabouts, so terrible a pestilence 
broke out that in Rome every day many thousands 
died of it. Being somewhat afraid, I began to take 
recreation of a kind to my liking, drawn thereto for 
a reason which I shall relate. I was in the habit of 
going on fete days to the ancient monuments, and 
there making copies, now modeUing in wax, and now 
drawing. As these old places are all in ruins, a great 
number of pigeons have taken to breed there, and I 
took it into my head I should like to have a shot at 
them. So thus, to avoid contact with other people, 
for I was afraid of the plague, I put my gun on the 
shoulders of my Paolino, and he and I by ourselves 
set off for the ruins ; and, as it came about, many a 
time I returned laden with fine fat pigeons. I never 
liked loading my gun with more than one ball, so 
that it was by real marksman's skill I brought down 
so many. My gun I had made myself, and inside 
and outside it shone like a mirror. With my own 
hand, too, I made the finest powder, discovering 
wonderful secrets, which to this day are unknown to 
any one else. I will not enlarge on the matter, but 
just give one hint to astonish skilled sportsmen. It 
is this — that with a charge a fifth of the weight of 
my ball, it carried two hundred paces point blank. 
Now although the great pleasure which I got from 



sport might seem to have distracted me from my 
art and my studies — and it really did so — yet in 
another sense it gave me much more than it took 
away, for every time I went out shooting, my health 
was much the better for it, the air putting fresh 
vigour into me. I am naturally of a melancholy 
temper, but while I was amusing myself in this way 
I grew light-hearted, and so I worked the better and 
with more skill than when I had no distraction from 
my studies and the exercise of my art. Thus in the 
end my gun was more of a gain than a loss to me. 

Besides, while I was engaged in this amusement, 
I made the acquaintance of some collectors, who 
followed in the steps of those Lombard peasants who 
used to come and dig the vineyards in the due season. 
In turning up the soil they would find antique medals, 
agates, chrysoprases, cornelians, cameos, and even 
precious stones like emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, 
and rubies. The collectors sometimes got such things 
from the peasants for trifling sums ; and so now and 
then — indeed frequently — I bought them from the 
curiosity-hunters for as many golden crowns as they 
had given guilios. Apart from the considerable gain 
I drew from the business, tenfold and more, my 
collection made me welcome amongst not a few of 
the Roman cardinals. But I shall only mention the 
most notable and rarest of these treasures. Among 
many other things there came into my hands a 
dolphin's head about the size of a big voting-bean. 
Now though the head was very beautifully fashioned, 
the material much surpassed the art ; for this emerald 
was of so lovely a colour that he who bought it from 
me for a score or so of crowns, had it set for a ring 
and got hundreds for it. Then there was another 
thing, namely, a head made out of the finest topaz 
that ever was seen ; and here the art was as good as 
the material. It was about the size of a big hazel- 
nut, and the carving of the head of Minerva was as 




exquisite as you can imagine. And then there was 
still another — a cameo on which was cut Hercules 
binding the three-headed Cerberus. This was of 
such extraordinary beauty and artistic skill that our 
great Michel Agnolo himself said he had never seen 
so marvellous a thing. Among a great many bronze 
medals I got hold of one with a head of Jupiter on 
it. It was larger than any I had ever seen, and the 
head was fashioned to perfection. On its beautiful 
reverse were some little figures just as well modelled. 
I could talk a long time about this, but I will say no 
more, lest I grow too lengthy. 

xxviii. As I have already told, the plague had 
broken out in Rome. Although I am now about to 
turn back a little in my story, I shall not be deviating 
from my plan. There came to Rome a very great 
surgeon called Maestro Giacomo da Carpi. This 
clever man, in the course of his other professional 
duties, took certain desperate cases of the French 
evil. Now in Rome priests are particularly liable to 
this disease, especially the richest of them. Well, 
when this distinguished man became known, he 
declared he would cure the malady in the most 
marvellous fashion by means of fumigations. But 
before beginning a cure he first bargained for his 
fees, and it was by hundreds and not by tens of 
crowns that these were reckoned. Now this clever 
man had a great understanding of the art of design. 
One day, passing my shop by chance, he saw a 
collection of drawings I had lying about, among which 
were some of fantastic Httle vases I had designed 
for my own pleasure, entirely diff^erent from any that 
had ever been seen before. Maestro Giacomo wished 
me to make some for him in silver, and this I did 
with all the good will in the world, for it fell in with 
my fancy. Although the distinguished man paid 
me very well for them, the honour it brought me 
was a hundred times more -, for the best men in the 


goldsmith's trade said they had never seen anything 
more beautiful or better executed. No sooner had I 
finished than he showed them to the Pope ; and next 
day he took his departure. He was very learned, 
and could speak admirably on the subject of medicine. 
The Pope wished him to remain in his service ; but 
Carpi said he would not be in the service of any one 
in the world, and whoever wanted him might come 
and seek him. A very shrewd person he was, too, 
and he did wisely in leaving Rome ; for not many 
months after, all those whom he had treated were a 
hundred times worse than before ; and he would 
have been killed had he stopped. He showed my 
little vases to many noblemen, amongst others to his 
Excellency the Duke of Ferrara, telling him how 
he had got them from a great lord in Rome, to 
whom he had said, if he would be cured of his 
malady, he must give him the two vases. The lord 
had replied that they were antiques, and offered him 
anything else of a portable size, if he but left him 
those. Carpi's tale was that he pretended he would 
not treat him, and then he got his way. This I 
was told by Messer Alberto Bendedio in Ferrara, 
who very pompously showed me some terra-cotta 
copies of them. Whereat I laughed, and as I said 
nothing, Messer Alberto Bendedio, who was a proud 
man, flew into a rage and said, " You laugh, eh ? 
But I tell you that for a thousand years back not a 
man has come into the world who could do as much 
as copy them." Then I, so as not to do harm to 
their reputation, kept my mouth shut, but stood 
looking at them in dumb wonder. Several noblemen 
in Rome — some of them my friends — said of these 
works that they had a marvellously antique look ; 
and, emboldened by this appreciation, I confessed I 
was their maker. They refused to believe it ; there- 
fore, in order to retain their credit, I was forced to 
prove my claim by making the designs for them 



over again ; for my word was not enough, seeing 
that Maestro Giacomo had shrewdly carried ofF the 
old drawings. But I did not come badly out of 
this little affair. 

xxix. Still the plague raged on for many months, 
but I had kept it at a distance. Many of my com- 
rades had died, yet I remained safe and free from 
infection. Now it happened one night that one of 
my intimate acquaintances brought a Bolognese 
prostitute called Faustina home to supper. She was 
a very beautiful woman, though she was about thirty 
years old ; and she had with her a little maid of 
thirteen or fourteen. Now as Faustina was my 
friend's property, I would not have had any dealings 
with her for all the gold in the world ; and although 
she said she was much in love with me, I never 
swerved from my loyalty to my friend. But after 
they were in bed, I ran off with the little maid, who 
was as fresh as fresh ; and it would have been a bad 
job for her if her mistress had known. So I spent a 
much pleasanter night than if I had had the mistress 
Faustina. Next day when dinner time came near, 
I was tired and hungry as after a walk of many miles. 
Then I was seized with a violent headache ; swellings 
rose in my left arm, and I discovered a carbuncle 
just by my left wrist-bone. Every one in the house 
was terrified ; my friend, the big cow, and the little 
calf all fled away, and I was left alone with my 
poor little shop-boy, who refused to leave me. I felt 
suffocated, and I looked on myself as a dead man. 
Just then the father of my apprentice passed by, who 
was Cardinal Jacobacci's household physician. The 
boy ran out to meet him, crying, " Come, father, and 
see Benvenuto, who is in bed, and not very well." 
Not thinking what my illness might be, he came in 
at once, felt my pulse, and then too clearly saw 
what he would fain have been blind to. Turning 
quickly on his son, he cried, " O you faithless boy, 

c S3 


you have ruined me ! How can I ever again go into 
the Cardinal's presence ? " To which the boy replied, 
"My master, father, is worth more than all the 
cardinals in Rome." Then turning to me, the 
doctor said, " Now that I am here I will treat you. 
Only of one thing I warn you, that if you have 
been with a woman, there is no help for you." To 
this I answered, "I was with one last night." 
" With what sort of creature ? " asked the doctor, 
" and how long ? " " The whole night," I replied, 
" and with a very young girl." Then seeing he had 
spoken rashly, he made haste to add, "Since the 
sores are still fresh and not putrid, and since there 
has been no delay about the remedy, do not be over- 
anxious, for I certainly hope to cure you." When 
he had treated me and gone away, there came in one 
of my dearest friends, called Giovanni Rigogli, who 
grieved over my illness, and at my solitary condition. 
" Depend upon it, Benvenuto, my friend," he said, 
*' I shall never leave you till I see you cured." Then 
I told him not to come near me, for I was doomed. 
Only I begged him to be good enough to take a 
quantity of crown pieces that were in a little box 
near my bed, and, as soon as God should have taken 
me from the world, to send them to my poor father. 
He was to write to him cheerfully how I, too, had 
succumbed to the common fate of that terrible 
season. But my dear friend swore he would not be 
parted from me for anything ; and whatever should 
come to pass, were it good or ill, he knew quite well 
what it behoved him to do for his friend. So we 
went on by the help of God ; and, thanks to the 
marvellous remedies which were applied, a great im- 
provement set in, and I came happily out of that 
terrible illness. While still the wound was open, 
but stuffed with lint and bandaged, I used to ride 
about on a little wild horse I had. It had hair four 
fingers long, was just the size of a young bear — and, 



indeed, looked very much like one. On it I rode 
away to find the painter Rosso, who was living 
outside Rome, towards Civita Vecchia, at a place 
called Cervetera, on the estate of the Count of 
Anguillara. I found my friend, who was dehghted 
to see me. Whereupon I said to him, " I am come 
to do to you what you did to me many months ago." 
At that he burst out laughing, and embracing and 
kissing me, told me to be quiet for the Count's 
sake. Thus happily I stopped there about a month, 
eating and drinking of the best, and made much of 
by the Count. Every day I went ofF by myself to 
the sea-shore, and there dismounting, used to gather 
curious and beautiful pebbles, shell-fish, and shells. 
The last day I went there I was attacked by a 
number of masked men, who had disembarked from 
a Moorish galley. When they thought they had 
got me into a corner, whence it did not seem possible 
for me to escape from their hands, I sprang upon my 
pony, making up my mind that in the perilous pass 
I had come to, it was now a choice of being shot or 
drowned. But, as God willed, my little horse, which 
was the one I have spoken of above, took an extra- 
ordinary leap, and I made off, giving thanks to 
Heaven. I told the Count all about it, and he went 
armed in their pursuit ; but their galleys were already 
out at sea. Next day I went back to Rome in 
good health and spirits. 

XXX. By this time the plague had almost passed 
away, and all who survived lived a merry life and 
made much of each other. From this there sprang 
up a society of painters, sculptors, and goldsmiths, 
the best in Rome ; and the founder of it was a 
sculptor, Michel Agnolo. This Michel Agnolo 
came from Siena. He was a very clever man, one 
who could bear comparison with any in his profession ; 
but above everything else the pleasantest and most 
affectionate fellow in the world. He was the eldest 



in years, but having regard to bodily strength, the 
youngest of us all. We used to meet at least twice 
every week without fail. I must not forget to say 
that to this company belonged Giulio Romano, the 
painter, and Gianfrancesco, both distinguished pupils 
of the great RafFaello of Urbino. When we had 
been meeting over and over again, our great master 
of the ceremonies suggested that the Sunday following 
we should all come to supper at his house, and that 
every one should be obliged to bring with him his 
"crow*' — such was the name Michel Agnolo gave 
to these ladies. If any man failed to bring one, he 
should be fined a supper to the whole club. Who- 
ever of us had no traffic with such women of the 
town, had to provide himself with one, at whatever 
expense and trouble, that he might not be shamed 
among all the great artists at the supper. Now I 
had thought I was very well provided for in a pretty 
girl called Pantasilea, who was very much in love 
with me ; but I was forced to concede her to one of 
my best friends called Bachiacca, who had been, and 
still was, very amorous of her. This gave rise to a 
sHght lover's quarrel, for when she saw that I gave 
her up to Bachiacca without a word, she thought I 
held her of very little account. Out of this there 
grew a very big affair in the course of time, when 
she wished to revenge herself for the slight I had 
put upon her ; but that I shall recount in its own 
place. Now as the hour drew near when we were 
to present ourselves to the worthy assembly, each 
man with his " crow," I found myself with nobody. 
I thought it would be ridiculous to fail for so silly a 
reason, yet I could not make up my mind to take 
some foul drab under my wing into such a dis- 
tinguished company. Then I bethought me of a 
pleasant jest which might add to our amusement. 
So having made up my mind on the point, I called a 
young lad of sixteen who lived near me, the son of a 



Spanish coppersmith. This youth was giving him- 
self to Latin letters, and was very studious. His 
name was Diego. He was handsome, and had a 
marvellously beautiful complexion, while the moulding 
of his head was even more beautiful than that of an 
antique Antinous ; and many a time had I drawn 
him, and had got much reputation where I had used 
him as a model. The boy was acquainted with no 
one, so that he was not known. He dressed in a 
careless, slovenly fashion, the one thing he loved 
being his precious studies. CalHng him into my 
house, I begged him to let me deck him out in the 
women's garments I had got ready. He made no 
objection, and put on the things at once. By 
dressing his hair in elegant fashion I much enhanced 
the beauty of his fece, and I put rings in his ears. 
These rings were split ; and only clipped the ears, 
which had, nevertheless, the look of being pierced. 
After that I put round his neck a golden necklace, 
set with beautiful and rich jewels ; and I adorned 
his pretty hands with rings. Then I led him gently 
by the ear in front of my large mirror ; and when 
the boy saw himself, he called out lustily, " Gracious 
Heaven ! is this Diego ? " Whereupon I answered, 
" Yes, it is Diego of whom I have never yet asked a 
favour. Now all I ask of him is that he oblige mc 
in an honest thing — to wit, that in these garments 
he come to supper with the distinguished company 
of artists of whom many a time I have spoken to 
him." The lad, who was modest, honest, and 
intelligent, lost his confidence of a moment ago, 
looked on the ground, and remained so some time 
without speaking a word. Then all at once he lifted 
his eyes, and said, " With Benvenuto I am ready to 
go. So now let us set off." 

Wrapping up his head in a great kerchief, which 
in Rome they call a summer doth, we came to the 
appointed place, where already everybody else was 



assembled ; and they all gave us greeting. When I 
took the kerchief from my pretty one's head, Michel 
Agnolo, who, as I said before, was the drollest and 
pleasantest man in the world, seized Giulio with one 
hand and Giovanfrancesco with the other — he was 
sitting between them — and with all his strength 
forced them to bow down ; while kneeling on the 
ground himself he begged for mercy, and called to 
all the company, saying, " Look, look, of such are the 
angels of Paradise — for though they are called angels, 
{Jngeli)^ yet are there some in women's form 
[Jngiole).^^ Then he cried aloud — 

"Angel of goodness, angel fair. 
Save and bless me ! Hear my prayer ! " 

At this my charming creature laughed, and with 
"her" right hand gave him a papal benediction, 
saying many pretty things besides. Then rising to 
his feet, Michel Agnolo said, " We kiss the Pope's 
feet, but we kiss the angels' cheeks " ; and when he 
suited the action to the word, the youth flushed, and 
so did his beauty grow the more. 

When this had been gone through, the whole 
room was found to be full of sonnets, which we had 
all made and sent to Michel Agnolo. The youth 
began to read them aloud, and as he did so, his 
wonderful beauty grew beyond telling. Then 
followed a great deal of talk, which I will not set 
down here, for it is beside my purpose. Only one 
jest I must not omit, which was uttered by the 
great painter Giulio. Looking shrewdly round the 
room, but letting his eyes rest longer on the ladies 
than on us, he turned to Michel Agnolo and said, 
"Michel Agnolo, dear friend, your nickname of 
* crow ' is very suitable to-day, though, indeed, they 
seem even less lovely than crows by the side of one 
of the loveliest peacocks imaginable." 

The viands being prepared, and we about to sit 



down, Giulio begged us to let him appoint our 
places at table. This being granted, he took the 
ladies by the hand, and led each in turn to the inner 
side of the board, and placed my companion in the 
middle. Then he arranged all the 'men on the out- 
side, with me in the centre ; for he said I deserved 
every honour. As a background to the ladies, there 
was a trellis covered with natural jasmine blossoms 
at their fairest, so becoming to them all, but especi- 
ally to mine, that words must fail to tell it. And so 
we all gave ourselves up to the enjoyment of that 
rich supper, where every good thing was most 
abundantly provided. After we had supped, singers 
accompanied by instruments entertained us with 
wonderful music, and since they sang and played out 
of books, my lovely creature requested to sing a part 
too. Then when "she" performed her role almost 
better than the others, the astonishment was so great 
that Giuho and Michel Agnolo no longer spoke of 
her jestingly, as at first, but their words were grave, 
serious, and full of real admiration. 

After the music, a certain Aurelio Ascolano, a 
marvellous improvisatore, began to speak the praises 
of the ladies in divine and beautiful fashion, yet 
while his rhythmic words flowed out, the two ladies 
who sat by my fair one, never stopped chattering. 
One of them told the story of her own misfortune j 
and the other asked my charmer how it had happened 
with her, and who were her friends, and how long 
she had been at Rome, and much else of the kind. 
Of course, if I had nothing better to do than to 
describe all the amusing little incidents that occurred, 
I could tell of many which arose out of Pantasilea's 
infatuation for me. But such things being not in 
my plan, I pass them over briefly. Now the con- 
versation of those horrid women began to annoy my 
"girl " — to whom, by the way, we had given the 
name of Pomona ; and Pomona, in her effort to 



escape from their foolish talk, turned now to one 
side and now to the other. Then the woman whom 
Giulio had brought asked her if she felt ill. She 
said yes, and that she believed she was a month or so 
gone with child, and that she was suffering great 
pain. The two who sat one on each side of her 
were at once full of compassion, and, putting their 
hands on her, found she was a boy. Quickly with- 
drawing their hands, they got up from the table, 
flinging words at her as might have befitted a hand- 
some youth. Then cries broke out on all sides, and 
in the midst of the laughter and the astonishment, 
Michel Agnolo asked leave of all to impose on me a 
penance of his own fashioning. This granted, he 
hoisted me up, amid the loud cries of the guests, 
calHng out, " Viva il signore ! Viva il signore ! " 
And this, said he, was the penance I merited, for 
having played them so fine a trick. Thus ended 
that very merry supper and that pleasant day ; and 
we all went home. 

xxxi. If I were to describe minutely the kind and 
the number of works which I made for all sorts 
of people, my story would be too long. All I need 
say is, that I strove with every effort and diligence 
to attain skill in all the various arts of which I have 
already spoken. At this time I was practising the 
whole of them side by side. I have not yet found an 
opportunity of telling of the most important things 
I was engaged on, but I shall wait for a more 
fitting place, which will soon come. Michel Agnolo, 
the Sienese sculptor, was now at work on the tomb 
of the dead Pope Adrian. The painter Giulio 
Romano left us for the service of the Marquis of 
Mantua. The other comrades were scattered, one 
here, one there, on business of their own ; so that 
the company of artists I have spoken of was almost 
entirely dispersed. 

About this time there came into my hands some 


little Turkish daggers. Their handles as well as 
their h^des were of steel ; and even the sheaths 
were of the same material. On them were chased, 
with iron gravers, groups of delightful foliage in the 
Turkish manner, and the spaces were filled in with 
gilt. I was seized with a great desire to prove 
myself in a kind of art so different from the others I 
had tried ; and finding that I succeeded admirably, 
I made several things of the kind. Mine were far 
finer and more lasting than the Turkish ones, for 
several reasons. In the first place, with my graver 
I cut much deeper and with a wider scoop than 
is ever seen in Turkish work. Then, again, the 
Turkish designs are only the leaves of the Egyptian 
bean, mingled with sun-flowers ; and though these 
have a certain grace of their own, one gets tired of 
them sooner than of our arabesques. Of course, in 
Italy we design foliage in many different fashions. 
The Lombards have a charming way of arranging 
ivy and bryony in their patterns with the lovehest 
turns and twists, which give delight to the eye. 
Then the Tuscans and the Romans make even a 
better choice, counterfeiting the leaves of the acan- 
thus, called bear's foot, with its stems and flowers 
winding variously about ; and amongst the foliage 
may be fittingly set divers little figures of birds or 
animals, which display the designer's fancy. Some 
of their patterns they find in nature, among wild 
flowers — those called snap-dragons, for instance, and 
these are not the only ones which clever artists work 
in along with their other pretty fantasies. Such 
things are called by the ignorant "grotesques." 
They have got this name in modern times from 
having been found by antiquaries in certain under- 
ground caves in Rome, these caves having been in 
ancient times chambers, bath-houses, studies, halls, 
and such like. The antiquaries finding them in 
those cavernous places — for while the ground has 
c* 6l 


been raised in the course of time, these chambers 
have remained below, and in Rome a^^ called 
grottos — hence has sprung the term "grotesques." 
But this is not their right name. The ancients 
delighted in drawing creatures, for the different parts 
of which they took hints from goats and cows and 
horses, and they called these curious mixtures by the 
name of monsters ; so do our craftsmen compose 
from their medley of leaves another sort of monster. 
Therefore, monsters, not grotesques, is their real 
name. And when I designed foliage after this 
fashion, my work was much finer than the Turkish. 

Now about this time I came across some vases, or 
little antique urns, filled with ashes. Among the 
ashes I found iron rings worked in gold by the 
ancients, in each of which was set a little shell. I 
inquired of scholars, who said these rings were worn 
by such as did greatly desire to remain with minds 
unmoved in the midst of any extraordinary occurrence, 
whether it brought them good or evil. At the 
request of some gentlemen, who were great friends 
of mine, I therefore set about making some of those 
little rings. But I made mine of fine tempered 
steel, and when they were delicately chased and 
inlaid with gold, they were very beautiful objects ; 
and for making one of them I sometimes got more 
than forty crowns. 

In those days little gold medals were much in 
fashion, and noblemen and men of rank had some 
emblem of their own devising engraved on these, and 
they wore them in their caps. I made a great many, 
and it was no easy task. Now Caradosso, the very 
clever artist of whom I have already spoken, did this 
kind of work ; and as his designs contained more than 
one figure, he would not sell them for less than a 
hundred gold crowns a piece. So I was preferred to 
him by certain gentlemen, yet not so much on 
account of his high prices as because he was a slow 


worker. For these customers I made, amongst other 
things, a medal in competition with this great artist. 
There were four figures in it, over which I took a 
great deal of trouble. Now as it fell out, when these 
nobles and gentlemen put mine alongside that of the 
famous Caradosso, they declared it to be much better 
made and more beautiful, and said I might ask 
whatever I liked for my trouble — for as I had given 
them full satisfaction, they wished to do no less for 
me. Whereupon I said the best reward of my 
labours, and the one I most desired, was to have 
equalled the work of so accomplished a man, and that 
if their honours were of this opinion I held myself to 
be handsomely paid. And thus I took my leave. 
Without delay they sent after me so liberal a present 
that I was content ; and so strong a desire to do 
well grew within me that it was the starting-point 
of what will be heard of by and by. 

xxxii. Now must I diverge a little from the story 
of my profession, having a mind to tell of certain un- 
fortunate occurrences which have happened in my 
toilsome life. I have already spoken of that company 
of artists and of the amusing incidents brought about 
by my connection with the lady Pantasilea, who 
bore me that false and burdensome love. She was 
terribly angry with me for that jest of mine — I mean 
when Diego the Spaniard came to the supper-party 
I have spoken of — and she had sworn to have her 
revenge. Now, as I am going to relate, an oppor- 
tunity for the same in due course arose, which put 
my life in the greatest danger. Here I must tell 
that a young man called Luigi Pulci came to Rome 
about this time. He was the son of the Pulci who 
was beheaded for incest with his daughter. Now 
this young man had a marvellous poetic talent, with 
a knowledge of good Latin letters, and he wrote well. 
In person he was extraordinarily handsome and 
graceful ; he had left the service of I do not know 



which bishop, and was stricken with the French evil. 
When he was a boy in Florence, it was the custom 
on summer nights to assemble in certain places out 
of doors ; and on such occasions he would sing with 
the best of the improvisatori. His voice was so 
beautiful that the divine Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, 
prince of sculptors and painters, would go and 
hear him with the greatest eagerness and pleasure 
whenever he knew where he could be found. And 
a certain man called Piloto, a very clever goldsmith, 
and myself used to go along with him. It was so I 
had got acquainted with Luigi Pulci. That had 
been years ago, and now in a wretched condition he 
came to Rome, found me out, and begged me to 
help him for the love of God. Moved by compassion, 
partly on account of his great talents, partly for love 
of my native place, and also because by nature I am 
tender-hearted, I took him into my house, and had 
him treated by a physician. As he was still young, 
he soon recovered. But while he was seeking his 
health he studied continually, and I helped him to 
procure as many books as I could. So Luigi, aware 
of the great benefits he was receiving from me, 
thanked me over and over again, by words and by 
tears, saying that if God ever put the chance in his 
way, he would recompense me for all I had done for 
him. I answered that I had done not what I should 
have wished, but what I could ; and that it was the 
duty of human creatures to help one another. Only, 
I reminded him that the kindness I had done to him 
he should return to whosoever might need his help as 
much as he had needed mine ; Hkewise, that he should 
treat me as a friend, for I was indeed his. 

Very soon this young man began to haunt the 
Court of Rome, where he soon found a place for 
himself; and ere long he entered into an arrangement 
with a bishop of eighty years of age, who was called 
Gurgensis. This bishop had a nephew called Messer 



Giovanni, a Venetian gentleman. Now Messer 
Giovanni seemed to be much enamoured of Luigi 
Pulci's talents, and these were a pretext for his 
making the young man as much at home in the 
household as he was himself. Luigi having spoken 
of me, and of his great obligations to me, Messer 
Giovanni wished to make my acquaintance. So one 
evening when I was giving a little supper to 
Pantasilea, just as we were going to sit down to 
table, Messer Giovanni came in along with Luigi 
Pulci, and after some formalities, stayed to eat with 
us. As soon as the brazen-faced whore set eyes on 
the fair youth, she had her designs on him. Seeing 
this, as soon as our pleasant supper was over, I 
called Luigi aside and told him that for the sake of 
the kindness he owned I had done him, he must 
never seekr the company of that prostitute. His reply 
was, "Alas, my friend Benvenuto, do you take me 
then for a madman ? " " Not for a madman, but for 
a young man," I answered ; "and I swear to you by 
God that I have no thought of her at all, but I 
should be very sorry if through her you broke your 
neck." Whereupon he swore and called God to 
witness that if ever he spoke to her he might break 
his neck upon the spot. The poor young fellow must 
have sworn this oath to God with all his heart, for 
he did, indeed, break his neck, as shall soon be told. 
Messer Giovanni, it could be seen, loved him in 
an unnatural fashion. Every day we saw the youth 
with new suits of velvet and silk, and perceived he 
was all given up to evil ways and was neglecting his 
wonderful talents. He pretended not to see me, nor 
to know me ; for I had reproached him with giving 
himself over as a prey to hideous vices, which would 
be the death of him one day, as I had said. 

xxxiii. Now his friend Messer Giovanni bought 
a very fine black horse for him, for which he paid a 
hundred and fifty crowns. The horse was admirably 



trained, and Luigi went caracolling round on it, pay- 
ing his attentions to the prostitute Pantasilea. I 
was aware of what was going on, but gave no heed, 
saying to myself that a man must do what he must ; 
and I bent all my mind to my studies. Now it 
happened that one Sunday evening we were invited 
to supper with Michel Agnolo, the Sienese sculptor ; 
and it was summer-time. To this supper came 
Bachiacca, of whom I have already spoken, and he 
brought with him Pantasilea, his first love. At 
table she was seated between me and Bachiacca. 
But just in the middle of supper she got up, say- 
ing she wished to retire, for she was in pain, but that 
she would soon return. In the meanwhile we went 
on pleasantly talking and supping, and she stopped 
away a long time. Now it happened that being on 
the alert, I felt sure I heard something Hke muffled 
laughter in the street. I had the knife in my hand 
which I had been using at table. The window was 
so near that by stretching a little I could see Luigi 
Pulci outside with Pantasilea, and I heard Luigi 
saying, " Oh, if that devil of a Benvenuto could only 
see, it would be the worse for us ! " And she 
answered, " No fear. Listen to the noise they are 
making. They are thinking of anything rather 
than us." At this point I — who knew perfectly 
who they were — threw myself down from the 
window, and seized Luigi by the cloak. With the 
knife in my hand I had certainly slain him, had he 
not spurred the white horse he was riding and left 
his cloak in my hands, to escape with his life. 
Pantasilea ran for refuge to a neighbouring church. 
The rest, who had been sitting at table, now sprang 
up, and all came down to me, begging me not to 
disturb myself or them for so worthless a trollop. 
To which I answered that for her I cared not a 
rap, but it was that rascally youth, who flaunted his 
contempt for me, I was bent on punishing. So I 


refused to yield to the persuasions of those artist 
friends of mine, and with my sword in my hand I 
went away by myself towards Prati, for the house 
where we had been supping was near to the Castello 
gate, which led there. As I was making my way 
along slowly in this direction the sun went down ere 
long, and as I re-entered Rome it was already night 
and murky, but the gates were not yet locked. 

About two hours after sundown I came on the 
house of Pantasilea, intending, if so be that Luigi 
Pulci was there, to make myself very unpleasant to 
them both. But when my eyes and ears gave 
evidence there was nobody in the house save a little 
slut of a servant-maid called Canida, I went ofF to 
stow away my cloak and the scabbard of my sword. 
Then I returned to the house, which was on the 
Tiber, behind the Banchi. Opposite the house was 
the garden of an inn-keeper called Romolo. The 
garden was shut in by a thick thorn hedge, in which 
I stood in hiding, waiting till the lady should come 
home with Luigi. When I had been there some 
time I was joined by my friend Bachiacca, who had 
perhaps guessed I might be found there, or, it may 
be, had been directed thither. Whispering to me 
" Gossip ! " — for so we called each other in jest — " I 
entreat you for the love of God " — and he was almost 
weeping as he spoke — " I beseech you, dear gossip, 
do no hurt to that poor little thing, for she is not a 
whit to blame." To which I replied, " If you do 
not get out of this at once when I tell you, I'll hit 
you on the head with my sword ! " My poor gossip 
got such a turn that he was taken ill and was forced 
to go and relieve himself. It was a starry night and 
of wonderful radiance. Suddenly I heard the hoofs 
of many horses, and from this side and that they 
came up. It was Luigi and Pantasilea, accompanied 
by a certain Messer Benvegnato from Perugia, 
Chamberlain of Pope Clement. In their train came 



four doughty Perugian captains with other gallant 
young soldiers. In all there were more than a 
dozen men-at-arms. When I perceived this, and 
bethought myself I did not know how to escape, I 
made up my mind to stick in the hedge. But the 
sharp thorns hurt me, and, goaded like a bull, I 
determined to jump out and make off, when at 
that very moment Luigi, who had his arm round 
Pantasilea's neck, said, " Once more I must kiss you 
just to spite that traitor Benvenuto." Then, pricked 
by the thorns and stung by the young man's words, 
I sprang out, raised my sword, and shouted, " You 
be all dead men ! " My sword fell heavy on Luigi's 
shoulder, but his satyr-like friends had lined his 
doublet with coats of mail and such-like things. Yet 
I had struck fiercely, and the sword, swerving, came 
down on Pantasilea's nose and mouth. Both Luigi 
and she fell to the ground, and Bachiacca, still un- 
braced, screamed and ran away. Hotly I turned to 
the others with my sword, and the gallant men, 
hearing a great commotion in the inn, thought an 
army of a hundred strong was coming up. They 
had bravely put their hands to their swords, but a 
couple of horses, which had got frightened, threw 
them into disorder. Two of the best riders were 
thrown, and the rest took to flight. When I saw 
things were turning out well for me, with hasty step, 
but with honour, I withdrew from the field, not 
wishing to tempt fortune more than was necessary. 
In this extraordinary confusion some of the soldiers 
and captains were wounded with their own swords, 
and Messer Benvegnato, the Pope's Chamberlain, 
was bruised and trampled by his mule. One of his 
servants, too, who had drawn his sword, fell at the 
same time as his master, and wounded him sorely in 
the hand. In his pain Benvegnato swore worse than 
the rest, crying out in his Perugian accent, "By 
God, I'll see that Benvegnato gives Benvenuto a 


lesson ! " And he ordered one of his captains — 
perhaps a braver fellow than the others, but a youth, 
and so with less sense — to go in search of me. This 
young fellow came to seek me out in the place to 
which I had retired, namely, the house of a great 
Neapolitan noble, who, knowing something of my 
attainments in my profession and the soldier-like 
disposition of my mind and body — which was the 
thing he felt most interest in — had taken a great 
fancy to me. Now, seeing my good reception and 
feeling myself quite at home, I gave such an answer 
to the captain that I think he much repented having 
come to brave me. After some days, the wounds of 
Luigi and his prostitute and the rest being nearly 
healed, this great Neapolitan gentleman was 
approached by Messer Benvegnato — whose anger had 
all passed away — that he might induce me to make 
peace with young Luigi and the brave soldiers, who 
had no ill-will against me, and, indeed, wished to 
make my acquaintance. Accordingly my host 
promised them all that he would bring me to what- 
ever meeting-place they wished, and that he would 
willingly use his influence with me to make up the 
quarrel. But he insisted that there should be no 
throwing about of words on either side, for it would 
be too undignified. It was enough merely to go 
through the forms of drinking together and embrac- 
ing ; and he would be the spokesman, and would do 
all he could to serve them. And so it fell out. One 
Thursday evening this gentleman took me to the 
house of Messer Benvegnato, where were gathered all 
the soldiers who had been routed in the scuffle. 
They were sitting at table. My friend had in his 
train more than thirty gallant men, all well armed, 
which Benvegnato did not expect. When we 
entered the hall, my host first, and I after him, he 
said, " God save you, gentlemen ! Benvenuto, who 
is to me as my own brother, is come with me here 



to do right willingly whatever you propose." 
Messer Benvegnato, at the sight of so many persons 
filing into the hall, replied, "We seek peace and 
nothing else." He promised, therefore, that J 
should have no annoyance from the governor of 
Rome and his minions. Then we made peace, and 
afterwards I went back to my shop, where I never 
could be for an hour without that Neapolitan coming 
to see me or sending for me. 

In the meanwhile Luigi Pulci had recovered, and 
every day he was to be seen riding about on his 
well-trained black horse. One day, though it was 
raining, he was showing ofF his horsemanship just 
near Pantasilea*s gate, when he slipped and fell, with 
the animal on the top of him, and fractured his right 
thigh. He died a few days after in Pantasilea's 
house ; and in this way was fulfilled the vow he had 
sworn so earnestly to God. Thus it is seen that 
God keeps count of the good and the bad, and to 
each man gives his deserts. 

xxxiv. At this moment the whole world was in 
arms. Pope Clement had sent to Giovanni de' 
Medici to ask for troops. But when they came to 
Rome, they were so unruly that it was not safe to 
be in public shops. This was the reason why I 
retired to a pretty little house behind the Banks, 
where I worked for all the friends I had made. My 
works, however, about this time were not of great 
importance, so I do not mean to speak of them. 
Just then I took great delight in music and similar 

Pope Clement, by the advice of Messer Jacopo 
Salviati, disbanded the five companies sent him by 
my lord . Giovanni, who had died in Lombardy. 
Therefore, Bourbon, knowing that Rome was un- 
protected, forced on his army with all speed to our 
gates. Then all Rome rushed to arms. Now I 
was a great friend of Alessandro, son of Piero del 



Bene. Indeed, when the Colonnesi had attacked 
Rome, he had asked me to guard his house. So 
now, on this more important occasion, he begged me 
to enlist fifty men as a guard for his palace, and I 
was to be at the head of them, as in the Colonnesi 
affair. So I collected fifty right gallant young 
fellows, and we took possession of his house, and 
were well paid and well entertained. When 
Bourbon's army appeared before the walls of Rome, 
Alessandro del Bene wished to go and see them, and 
begged me to accompany him. So with one of the 
best of my men we set out ; and on the way a young 
man called Cecchino della Casa joined us. When we 
reached the walls near the Campo Santo, we caught 
sight of that wonderful army, now doing its very 
utmost to force an entrance. Just where we were 
posted on the walls many young fellows were lying 
dead, killed by the enemy's fire. The fight was at 
its hottest Tiere, and the smoke as thick as you can 
imagine. Turning to Alessandro, I said, "Let us 
set home as quick as we can, for here it is hopeless. 
Look ! they come up, and our men flee." Then 
Alessandro, desperately frightened, replied, "Would 
to God we had never come ! " And with that he 
turned in the maddest terror to escape. But I checked 
him, saying, "Since you have brought me here, I 
must play the man ;" and aiming my arquebuse 
where I saw the enemy was thickest, I fired at one 
I saw raised above the others. The cloud prevented 
me seeing whether he was on horseback or on foot. 
Turning hastily to Alessandro and Cecchino, I ordered 
them to discharge their guns, and showed them how 
to escape a return shot from the enemy outside. 
When we had each fired twice, I crept stealthily up 
to the wall, and saw an extraordinary tumult among 
the enemy, for one of our shots had knocked down 
Bourbon. And, so far as I could hear afterwards, he 
it was whom I had seen raised above the others. 



Leaving this place, we went through the Campo 
Santo, and entered by St. Peter's. Then we came 
out just at the Church of Sant' Agnolo, and reached 
the great gate of the castle with much difficulty ; for 
Rienzo da Ceri and Orazio Baglioni were attacking 
and slaughtering all those who had left their places 
on the walls. Reaching this gate, we found some of 
the enemy had entered Rome, and they were at our 
heels. As the castellan wished to let the portcullis 
fall, he had to clear the way somewhat, and so we 
four got inside. No sooner had I entered than the 
captain, Pallone de' Medici, took possession of me as 
a member of the castle household, and thus forced 
me to leave Alessandro, which I did much against 
my will. While I was going up to the donjon. Pope 
Clement had entered by the corridors. He had been 
unwilling to leave the palace of St. Peter before this, 
never imagining that the enemy would make their 
way into the city. Now, having got inside in the 
way I have described, I took up my post near some 
big guns, which were under the charge of a bom- 
bardier called Giuliano the Florentine. This Giuliano, 
hanging over the battlements of the castle, saw his 
poor house being sacked and his wife and children 
outraged ; so, lest he should massacre his own kith 
and kin, he did not dare discharge his guns, but threw 
his fuse upon the ground, and wailed aloud, and tore 
his face. And other bombardiers were doing the 
same. Therefore I seized one of the fuses, and, with 
the help of some who were calmer in their minds, 
pointed some swivels and falconets where I saw a 
chance, slaughtering therewith a great many of the 
enemy. But for this, those that came into Rome 
that morning, marching straight to the castle, might 
have made an easy entry, for the artillery were doing 
nothing to stop them. I kept up the fire, for which 
several cardinals and noblemen blessed me, giving 
me the greatest encouragement. Of course, in my 


impetuous mood I was trying to do the impossible ; 
enough that it was through me the castle was saved 
that morning, and that the other bombardiers came 
back to their duty. So I toiled on through all that 
day. When evening had come, while the army was 
entering Rome by the Trastevere, Pope Clement 
appointed a great Roman nobleman, Messer Antonio 
Santa Croce by name, head of all the gunners. This 
great lord came up to me at once, made much of me, 
and stationed me with five splendid pieces of artillery 
in the most exposed part of the castle, which is 
called the Angel. This place goes all round the 
Iceep, and looks over both Prati and Rome. Then 
he gave me a company of men to help me in the 
management of the guns, handed me an instalment 
of my pay, consigned me bread and a little wine, and 
entreated me to go on as I had begun. There have 
been times when I have been more incHned to the 
profession of arms than to the one of my choice, 
and with such goodwill did I give myself to it now, 
that I did better in it than in my own art. When 
night came on and the enemy were in Rome, we 
who were in the castle — but especially myself, who 
have always delighted in new experiences — stayed 
looking on at the extraordinary scene and the con- 
flagration, which only those who were with us could 
have any clear idea of. Yet I will not set myself to 
describe the event, but will go on with the tale of my 
own life which I have begun, and of such things as 
appertain to it. 

xxxv. Continuing, as I did, my artillery practice 
for the whole month when we were besieged in the 
castle, I had a great many wonderful adventures the 
while, all worthy of being recounted. But as I do 
not wish to be too lengthy, nor to diverge over much 
from the tale of my profession, I shall leave the 
greater part of them untold, only mentioning those 
I am forced to, which will be few in number, but the 



most remarkable. And here is the first. Messer 
Santa Croce ordered me down from the Angel that 
I might fire on certain houses near the castle, where 
some of our enemies had been seen to enter. While 
I was firing, one of their cannons marked me 5 but 
as it struck a corner of a battlement and took away 
some of the stone, it did not do me much harm. 
The mass of stone, however, struck me in the chest, 
and, all breathless, I lay prone on the ground as one 
dead. Yet I could hear all that the bystanders were 
saying. Among them was Messer Antonio Santa 
Croce lamenting loud, " Alas ! for we have lost our 
best helper." Hearing the noise, a certain com- 
panion of mine ran up. He was Gianfrancesco the 
fifer, but he had greater talents for medicine than for 
music. Bursting into tears at the sight of me, he 
ran for a flask of excellent Greek wine. Then he 
made a tile red-hot, sprinkled on it a good handful 
of wormwood, and then poured the Greek wine over 
it. When the wormwood was well soaked, he put it 
at once on my chest, where the mark of the blow was 
plainly to be seen. And such was the virtue of the 
thing that my wandering senses came back to me at 
once. But when I would fain have spoken I could 
not, for some foolish soldiers had filled my mouth 
with earth. To give me the sacrament had been 
their thought, but it was liker excommunication ; 
and I could scarce regain my senses, for the earth 
was more harmful than the blow I had received. 
But that danger passed. I turned once again to the 
fury of the guns, keeping up the firing with the force 
and energy of my whole being. 

Now Pope Clement had sent for help to the Duke 
of Urbino, who was with the Venetian army. By 
his ambassador he sent a message to his Excellency, 
to wit, that while the castle of an evening showed 
three fires upon its topmost point, and fired thrice a 
triple discharge from its guns, it should be for a sign 



it had not surrendered. It was I who had charge of 
lighting the beacons and firing the guns, and by day 
I directed our fire wherever it could do mischief. So 
for these reasons the Pope's opinion of me grew still 
higher, for he saw I performed my business with all 
the foresight it demanded. The Duke never came 
to our help. But I'm not here to explain that, and 
I'll say no more. 

xxxvi. While I was up here at my devilish business, 
several of the cardinals who were in the castle, came 
to see me, in especial the Cardinal Ravenna and the 
Cardinal de' Gaddi. Many a time I told them not 
to expose themselves, for those red caps of theirs were 
marks for the enemy. Indeed, from neighbouring 
palaces, such as the Torre de' Bini, both they and I 
ran the greatest danger ; so that at last I had them 
locked up, and gained only their ill-will thereby. 
Then, too, I often had visits from Orazio Baglioni, 
who was very friendly with me. One day when we 
were talking together he noticed something going 
on in a certain tavern outside the Porta di Castello, 
at a place called Eaccanello. This tavern had for its 
sign a sun painted red, which hung between two 
windows. The windows were shut, but Signor 
Orazio guessed that between them, on the inner 
side of the wall, some soldiers were sitting drinking. 
So he said to me, "If you could hit the wall, a cubit's 
length from that sun, with your smaller cannon -I 
think you would do a good stroke of business. For 
from the noise I hear I judge them to be men of great 
importance." To which I answered that I could 
easily hit the sun through its centre, but a barrel of 
stones was standing near the mouth of the gun, and 
it might be knocked down by the firing and the shock. 
But he replied, " Don't waste time, Benvenuto, for, 
in the first place, it is not possible that, being where 
it is, the blast from the gun should knock it down ; 
and, secondly, even if the Pope were down there, 



there would be less harm done than you think. So, 
fire away ! " Then without another thought I hit 
the middle of the sun, just as I had said I should do. 
But, as I had foreseen, the barrel toppled, fell exactly 
between Cardinal Farnese and Messer Jacopo Salviati, 
and would to a certainty have flattened them both, 
had not the Cardinal at that moment been railing at 
Messer Jacopo for causing the sack of Rome, and so, 
stepping aside to call each other names, they escaped 
being crushed by my barrel. Hearing the loud noise 
which this made in the court below, good Signor 
Orazio hastened down ; and I, stretching over at the 
point where the barrel had fallen, heard some people 
say they would like to make an end of that bombardier. 
Whereupon I placed two falconets in front of the stair- 
case, and resolved to fire on the first man who should 
come up. Now certain servants of Cardinal Farnese 
must have been sent to do me a mischief. So I faced 
the staircase with the lighted fuse in my hand, and 
cried to some of those on the stairs whose faces I 
knew, " Oh, you idle beggars, if you don't get out of 
this, if but one of you dare come up these steps, I 
have two falconets ready to blow you to atoms ! So 
go and tell the Cardinal and his friends that I only 
did my superior's bidding ; and what was done, and 
what is being done, is in defence of their priests, and 
not to do harm to them." OfF they went, and then 
came Signor Orazio Baglioni running. Him, too, I 
ordered to stand back, else I'd be the death of him, 
I said ; for I knew very well who he was. He 
hesitated a bit, and I could see he feared me 
somewhat, and then rejoined, "Benvenuto, I am 
your friend." To which I responded, "Come up, 
my lord, if so be you come alone." Now this signor, 
who was a very haughty man, stopped short for a 
moment, and then burst out angrily, "I've a good 
mind not to come a step farther, and to do just the 
contrary of what I had intended for you." To 



this I answered, that just as I had been stationed 
there for the defence of others, I should be quite as 
well able to take care of myself. Then he said that 
he was coming up alone. When he had mounted 1 
saw his look had changed to me more than there 
seemed cause for. So I put my hand on my sword 
and stood there grimly facing him, whereupon he 
began to laugh ; the pallor of rage passed away, and 
he said to me pleasantly, " Benvenuto, my friend, I 
could not love you better than I do, and when God 
pleases I will prove it to you. Would to God you 
had killed those two rascals ! One of them is at the 
bottom of the mischief, as we know, and the other 
may yet be the cause of worse." Then he told me 
that, if I were asked, I must not tell he was with me 
when I fired the gun. And as for the rest, I was to 
have no fear. The confusion was tremendous, and 
we did not hear the end of it for a long time. But 
I will not discourse longer on the matter ; enough 
that I had very nearly revenged my father on 
Messer Jacopo Salviati, who, as he used to lament, 
had done him a thousand wrongs. At any rate, 
though unintentionally, I had given him a great 
scare. Of Farnese I will say no more at pre- 
sent. But it shall be told in its own place how 
much better it would have been for me had I killed 

xxxvii. Thus I went on looking after my guns, 
every day being marked by some notable feats of 
mine, so that I acquired boundless credit and favour 
in the eyes of the Pope. Never a day passed but I 
killed some of the besiegers. Once when the Pope 
was walking round the keep, he saw a Spanish 
colonel in the Prati, whom by certain signs he recog- 
nised ; for the man had once been in his service. 
While he watched he talked about him. I, who was 
alone in the Angel, and knew nothing of what 
was going on, nevertheless saw a man occupied about 



the trenches. He had a little javelin in his hand, 
and his dress was all of rose colour. Bethinlcing 
myself what I could do against him, I took one of 
the gerfalcons v/hich I had there, a piece bigger and 
longer than a sacro, and very like a small culverin. 
First I emptied it, and then loaded it with a good 
quantity of fine powder mixed with coarse. Then I 
aimed well at the red man, raising the muzzle tre- 
mendously, for he was far away, and guns of this sort 
cannot be expected to carry with precision at that 
range. When I fired, I aimed exactly at the red 
man's middle. He had slung his sword in front in 
arrogant Spanish fashion, and my ball hitting his 
blade, the man fell cut in two. The Pope, who was 
looking for nothing of the kind, was greatly pleased 
and astonished, for it seemed impossible to him a gun 
should have so long a range ; nor could he under- 
stand how the man should have been cut in half. 
Sending for me, he asked me to explain. So I told 
him what ingenuity I had used ; but as for cutting 
the man in two, it was a thing neither of us could 
get at the bottom of. Then, kneeling down, I 
begged him to remove from me the curse of this 
homicide and of others I had committed in that 
castle in the service of the Church. Whereupon 
the Pope, raising his hands, made the sign of the 
cross broadly over my face, gave me his blessing and 
his pardon for all the homicides I had committed, or 
ever should commit, in the service of the Church 
Apostolic. So I left him, and once on the tower 
again I went on firing without stop, and hardly ever 
was shot of mine in vain. My drawing, my fine 
studies, and my skill in music were all drowned in 
the roar of those guns ; and were I to tell minutely all 
the fine things which I did in that infernally cruel 
business, I should strike the world with wonder. 
But not to be too lengthy, I shall pass them all over, 
save just a few of the most notable which I am/orced 



to tell. So here. I kept thinking day and night 
how best I could do my part in the defence of the 
Church. Now I knew that when the enemy 
changed guard, they passed through the big gate of 
Santo Spirito, which was within a moderate range. 
So I began to fire in that direction. But as I had to 
fire obliquely, I did not do all the mischief I should 
have liked, though every day my slaughter was con- 
siderable. Then the enemy, seeing their passage 
hindered, one night piled up more than thirty barrels 
on the crest of a roof, thus blocking up my view. 
Considering the matter rather more carefully than I 
had done before, I turned all my five pieces of artil- 
lery right on the barrels, and waited till two hours 
before sunset, when the guard would be changed. 
Now, thinking themselves secure, they came along 
more slowly and in denser mass than had been their 
wont ; so, when I fired, I not only knocked down 
the barrels in my way, but killed more than thirty 
men in that one blast. This I repeated twice again, 
and threw the soldiers iirto great disorder ; and the 
incident, joined to the fact that they had stuffed 
themselves with loot from the great sack, and were 
longing to enjoy the fruits of their labours, was the 
cause of their threatening to revolt and to desert. 
They were restrained, however, by their valorous 
captain, Gian di Urbino. To their great inconveni- 
ence, they were forced henceforth to take another 
passage when changing guard, a roundabout way of 
three miles, instead of only half a mile as before. 
This business being successfully carried through, all 
the gentlemen in the castle showered favours on 
me. Inasmuch as it had important consequences, 
I have wished to relate this event and have done 
with it ; for such things do not belong to the tale of 
my own art, which is the reason of my writing. If 
I cared to adorn my story with such things, too 
much would remain to tell. There is, however, just 



one more adventure I must relate, and this seems the 
place to do so. 

xxxviii. I am now making a great leap forward when 
I tell how Pope Clement, desiring to save the tiaras 
and all the mass of jewels belonging to the Apostolic 
Camera, ordered me to come before him. Then he 
shut himself up in a room with only Cavalierino 
and me. This Cavalierino had been a stableman in 
the service of Filippo Strozzi, and was a Frenchman 
of the lowest birth. But being an excellent servant, 
Pope Clement had showered riches on him, and 
trusted him as he trusted himself. Now when the 
Pope, Cavaherino, and I were shut up in this room, 
the tiaras and all the jewels of the Apostolic Camera 
were placed before me, and his Holiness ordered me 
to take them out of their gold settings. This I did, 
and then I rolled each up in a little bit of paper, and 
we sewed them into the linings of the clothes which 
the Pope and Cavalierino wore. Then they handed 
all the gold over to me, telling me to melt it as 
secretly as I could. So I went up to the Angel, 
where my own room was, which I could lock, and 
where I might be free from disturbance. There I 
made myself a little furnace of brick, and put into 
the bottom of it a fair-sized ash-pot shaped like a 
plate. Then 1 threw the gold on the top of the 
coals, and little by little it melted and fell down into 
the pot. Yet all the while this furnace was working, 
I was watching for chances of doing hurt to our 
enemies ; and as they were about a stone's-throw from 
us in the trenches below, I fired some rubbish at 
them from the piles of old ammunition belonging to 
the castle. Taking a swivel and a falconet, both 
rather damaged at the muzzle, I loaded them with 
this useless stuff, and when I fired, it went down with 
headlong fury, and did much unlooked-for damage in 
the trenches. So I kept on merrily at this work 
while I was melting the gold. Then a little before 


vespers I saw some one coming along the edge of the 
trench riding on a mule. The mule was going very 
quickly, and the rider was speaking to those in the 
trenches. Before he came opposite me I had been 
prudent enough to get ready my guns, and thus I 
fired just at the right moment. One stone hit him 
in the face. The rest struck the mule, which fell 
dead. Then arose a great tumult in the trench, and 
I fired my other piece, and dealt destruction. It 
was the Prince of Orange I had wounded, and now 
he was borne through the trenches to a tavern in the 
neighbourhood ; and thither ran in great haste all 
the great men in the army. Pope Clement, hearing 
what I had done, sent for me at once. He asked m.e 
how it happened, and I told him all. Moreover, I 
said the fallen man must be a person of the utmost 
importance, since, so far as could be seen, all the 
chiefs of the army had run at once to the tavern 
where they had carried him. Then the Pope, who was 
a quick-brained man, sent for Messer Antonio Santa 
Croce, the head of the gunners, as I have said, and 
bade him order all his bombardiers to direct their 
guns, which were very numerous, on that house, the 
firing of an arquebuse to be the signal. Thus the 
chiefs being slaughtered, he hoped the army, already 
demoralised, would all fall to pieces. Perhaps, he 
said, God had heard the prayers they had sent up 
continually, and in this way was going to free them 
from these impious rascals. So we got our guns 
ready, in obedience to the command of Santa Croce, 
and were waiting for the signal, when Cardinal 
Orsino heard of the thing, and began to revile the 
Pope. On no account should such a thing be done, 
said he ; for they were on the point of concluding 
peace ; and if the chiefs were slain, the army, left to 
itself, would take the castle, and utter ruin would be 
the result. So they refused to allow the order to be 
carried out. The poor Pope, in despair, seeing him- 




self fatally menaced from within and without, said he 
would leave the plans to them. Thus the order to 
us was countermanded ; but I, who could not hold 
myself in, when I realised they were coming to pre- 
vent us firing, discharged one of my small cannons, and 
the ball struck a pillar in the courtyard of the house 
where I had seen so many people gathered. This 
shot dealt such destruction to the enemy, that they 
were almost for abandoning the house. Cardinal 
Orsino would have had me hanged or shot without 
mercy ; but the Pope hotly defended me. As for 
the angry words that passed on the occasion, though 
I know what they were, I have no intention of 
telling them. For the writing of history is not my 
business. I shall only attend to my own affairs. 

xxxix. As soon as I had melted the gold, I took it 
to the Pope, who thanked me much for what I had 
done, and ordered Cavalierino to pay me twenty-five 
crowns, excusing himself that he had no more to 
give me. A few days after peace was made. I set 
off with Signor Orazio Baglioni and a company of 
three hundred men towards Perugia ; and there 
Orazio would have consigned to me the company ; 
but I did not wish for it then, and told him I was 
going to see my father first, and redeem the ban 
which was on me still in Florence. Then he told 
me he was made Captain of the Florentines ; and 
here, too, was Ser Pier Maria di Lotto, the Florentine 
envoy, to whom Orazio heartily recommended me 
as his man. 

And so I came to Florence with several other 
companions. There the plague was raging furiously. 
On my arrival I found my dear father, who had been 
thinking I had died in the sack, or that I should 
return to him naked and despoiled. But it was just 
the contrary, as he discovered. Here I was, alive, 
with my pockets full of money, with a servant and a 
good mount. So great was the joy with which I 


saw my father that, when he embraced and kissed me, 
I certainly thought I should have died on the spot. 
I told him the whole infernal history of the sack, and 
filled his hands with crowns, which I had gained in 
my military service, and we embraced each other 
over and over again. Then ofF he went to the 
Eight to redeem the ban on me. Now, as chance 
would have it, there still belonged to the Council 
one of those who had passed the sentence on me, 
indeed, the very man who had harshly told my father 
that he would send me into the country with the 
lances. So now my father had his revenge in some 
significant words, which were backed by his know- 
ledge of the favour shown me by Orazio Baglionfi 

Things were at this point when I told my 'father 
how Signor Orazio had made me captain ; and that 
I must be thinking of gathering my company. At 
these words the poor old man was terribly disturbed ; 
and he begged me, for the love of God, to undertake 
no such enterprise, though he was certain I was fit 
for it, and even for a greater. Then he added that 
his other son, my brother, was a mighty man of war, 
and my duty was to give myself up to that wonderful 
art at which, for so many years, I had laboured so 
earnestly. Though I promised to obey him, he was 
too shrewd not to know that if Signor Orazio came, 
I could not but continue my military career. I had 
given my promise, and there were other reasons as 
well. So, bethinking himself of the best means of 
getting me out of Florence, he said to me, " Oh, my 
dear son, here the plague is terrible ; and I am always 
imagining you coming home with it on you. Now, 
I remember when I was a young man, that I went 
away to Mantua, where I was made much of, and 
there I stayed several years. Therefore, I beg, nay, 
I command you, by your love for me, to leave this 
and go thither — and let it be rather to-day than 



xl. Now, it has always been my delight to see the 
world ; and as I had never been at Mantua, I went 
off willingly. The greater part of the money I had 
brought home I left with my dear father, promising 
to help him always wherever I should be. I left my 
elder sister to take care of the poor old man. She 
was called Cosa, and as she had never wished to 
marry, she had been received as a nun in Santa 
Orsola ; but she had not yet gone to live there, that 
she might take care of our old father, and be a guide 
to our younger sister, who had married a sculptor 
called Bartolommeo. So, with my father's blessing, 
I departed, and rode off on my good horse to 

I should have too many things to tell, were I to 
write down all the details of that little journey. The 
world lying under a cloud of pestilence and war, it 
was with the utmost difficulty I reached my des- 
tination. But once there, I immediately began to 
seek for work ; and got employment from a certain 
Maestro Niccolo of Milan, who was goldsmith to 
the Duke of Mantua. About two days after I was 
in full work, I wentto pay a visit to Messer Giulio 
Romano, the distinguished painter, and my great 
friend. He received me with the utmost affection ; 
but he took it ill of me that I had not got down at 
his house. He was living like a great lord, and was 
engaged on work for the Duke outside the gate of 
Mantua, at a place called the Palazzo del Te — a 
marvellous undertaking, on a great scale, as may 
probably be seen to this day. With all haste, Messer 
Giulio spoke of me to the Duke in the highest 
terms ; and I was commissioned to model a reliquary 
for the Blood of Christ, which the Mantuans possess, 
brought thither, they say, by Longinus. Then, 
turning to Messer Giulio, he told him to make me a 
design for the reliquary. Whereupon Messer Giulio 
answered, "My lord, Benvenuto is a man who has 




no need of the designs of others, and with this your 
Excellency will heartily agree when you see his 

Taking the work in hand, I designed the reliquary 
so that the ampolla should fit well into it. Then I 
made a little model in wax of the Hd — a Christ 
sitting with His left hand raised and supporting His 
great Cross, on which He leaned, while with His 
right He seemed to be opening the wound in His 
side. When the model was finished, the Duke was so 
pleased that he heaped favours on me, and gave me 
to understand he would keep me on in his service 
on such terms as would be profitable to me. Mean- 
while I had paid my respects to the Cardinal his 
brother, who begged the Duke to be good enough to 
let me make the Pontifical seal of his most excellent 
reverence. This work I began, but while I was 
about it I took ill of the quartan fever ; and when- 
ever the fit was on me I lost my senses and cursed 
Mantua and its lord and whoever stayed there of his 
own accord. These words were reported to my 
patron by his Milanese goldsmith, who saw quite 
well that the Duke was going to give me employ- 
ment. When my lord heard those sick words of 
mine he flew into a rage -, and I was out of temper 
with Mantua, and so one of us was just as angry 
as the other. I finished the seal, which, together 
with some other little things for the Duke, ordered 
in the name of the Cardinal, was four months' work. 
I was well paid for it by the latter, who begged me 
to return to Rome, that wonderful city where we 
had become acquainted with each other. 

Setting off, therefore, with a good supply of 
Mantuan crowns, I came to Governolo, the place 
where the most valiant Signor Giovanni had been 
slain. Here I had another little bout of fever, which 
did not, however, hinder my journey, for I quickly 
threw it ofF and had no more of it. When I got to 

D 85 



Florence I thought to find my dear father. But 
when I knocked at the door there appeared at the 
window an old angry hunch- backed woman, who 
drove me ofF with insults, telling me my face would 
be the death of her. Addressing the hunchback, I 
said, " Tell me, you cross, misshapen hag, is there 
no better- looking face in the house than yours?" 
" No," she answered. " The Devil take you ! " 
And I shouted back, " May two hours see the end 
of it then ! " Hearing this altercation, a neighbour 
woman came out and told me that my father and the 
whole household had died of the plague. As I had 
been thinking this might be the case, my grief was 
the less. Then she added that only my younger 
sister Liperata had survived, and that she had been 
taken in by a pious woman called Monna Andrea de* 

Then I left to go to the inn, but on the way there 
I met a dear friend of mine, Giovanni Rigogli, and 
got down at his house. Afterwards we went off to 
the piazza, where I heard that my brother was alive. 
Off I set to seek him at the house of a friend of his 
called Bertino Aldobrandi. There I found him, and 
our greetings and caresses were endless j and reason 
was there for some extravagance of joy, seeing he had 
heard news of my death and I of his. Then, breaking 
out into a long fit of laughter, he took me by the 
hand, saying, " Come, brother, I shall take you to a 
place you never would think of. For I must tell 
you I have given our sister Liperata again in marriage, 
and for a certainty she thinks you dead." On our 
way to her home we entertained each other with all 
the great things that had happened to us. When we 
arrived at her house, she was so overpowered by the 
unlooked-for event that she fell into my arms as if 
dead ; and if my brother had not been there, her 
excitement and her dumbness must have made her 
husband think I was some one other than her brother, 


as at first he was inclined to. But Cecchino told 
him all, and helped to revive her from her swoon. 
Then with some tears for the father, sister, husband, 
and little son she had lost, she began to prepare 
supper ; and for the rest of that festive evening 
nothing more was said of the dead — we spoke of 
weddings rather. And thus merrily and most plea- 
santly our supper went by. 

xli. Moved by the prayers of my brother and sister, 
I stopped on in Florence, though my own desire 
would have led me back to Rome. And, besides,, 
that dear friend of mine, Piero di Giovanni Landi, 
of whose help to me in my troubles I have already 
spoken, also advised me to remain where I was for 
some time. Just then the Medici were exiled from 
Florence — that is, Signor Ippolito, who was after- 
wards Cardinal, and Signor Alessandro, afterwards 
Duke. So Piero said I should stay for a little time 
to see what was going to happen. I began, there- 
fore, to work in the Mercato Nuovo, where I did a 
large business in setting jewels, and made a good 

About this time there came to Florence a Sienese 
called Girolamo Marretti, who had lived a long time 
in Turkey, and was a very intelligent man. One 
day he came to my shop and commissioned me to 
make a gold medal for wearing in a hat, the design 
to be a Hercules wrenching the lion's mouth open. 
So I set about the thing, and while I was working at 
it Michel Agnolo Buonarroti came several times to 
see it. Now I had taken a great deal of pains with 
it, and the attitude of the figure was so fine, and the 
spirit of the animal so admirably expressed, that it 
had nothing in common with the work of such artists 
as had designed the same kind of thing before. 
Then, also, my method of working was entirely 
new to the divine Michel Agnolo. And so he 
praised my work j and this was such an incitement 



to me to do well as I cannot describe. But I had 
nothing else in hand save jewel-setting j and though 
my best earnings came from this, yet I was not con- 
tented, for I wished to do something higher than 
merely setting stones. Now I fell in with a certain 
young man of lofty spirit called Federigo Ginori. 
He had Hved many years in Naples, where his hand- 
some figure and his fine presence gained him such 
fame that he had been the lover of a princess. Well, 
this man, wishing to have a medal made — Atlas with 
the world on his shoulders to be the subject — he 
asked the great Michel Agnolo to make a sketch of 
a design. He answered Federigo thus: "Go and 
seek out a young goldsmith called Benvenuto. He 
will serve you very well ; and you may be sure he 
will have no need of a design from me. But that 
you may not think I seek to shirk such a trifle, I'll 
make a sketch with pleasure. Meanwhile speak to 
Benvenuto, and let him make a little model as well. 
Then the better design of the two can be carried out." 
So Federigo Ginori came to see me, and said what 
he wanted, adding how much the wonderful Michel 
Agnolo had praised me, and how he had advised my 
making a little model in wax, while he — the mar- 
vellous man — had promised to make a drawing. 
Such encouragement was contained in the words of 
the great genius that I set to the work at once with 
the utmost energy. When he had finished it, a 
certain painter, a great friend of Michel Agnolo, 
called Giuliano Bugiardini, brought me the sketch 
of the Atlas. At the same time I showed Giuliano 
my little wax model, which was quite diff^erent from 
Michel Agnolo's design. And so Federigo, and 
Bugiardini as well, said I should carry out the thing 
according to my model. I began it, therefore ; and 
when the most excellent Michel Agnolo saw it, he 
praised it more than I can tell. It was, as I have 
said, a figure engraved on a thin plate of gold j the 


heaven on its back was a crystal ball, upon which was 
cut the zodiac on a field of lapis-lazuli. The whole 
thing was indescribably beautiful. Under it ran 
the motto, Summa tulisse juvat. Federigo being 
satisfied, paid me most liberally. Now about that 
time Aluigi Alamanni was in Florence. He was a 
great friend of Federigo Ginori, who often brought 
him to mv shop ; and by his recommendation we 
became close friends. 

xlii. Pope Clement had now declared war on the 
city of Florence, which made preparations for its 
defence. In every quarter the militia was organ- 
ised, and I was under orders to serve too. For this 
I made sumptuous preparations. I was intimate with 
the best nobility of Florence, who showed a right 
good will in undertaking the defence of the city ; 
and in every quarter of the town were delivered the 
speeches usual at such times. The young men met 
together more than was their wont, and nothing else 
was ever talked about. One day, towards noon, a 
number of persons were gathered in my shop, — men 
full grown and youths, the chief in the city — when a 
letter from Rome was brought to me. It came from 
a man called Maestro Jacopino della Barca. His real 
name was Jacopo dello Sciorina, but in Rome he was 
known as della Barca, because he owned a ferry-boat 
which crossed the Tiber between Ponte Sisto and 
Ponte Santo Agnolo. This Maestro Jacopo was a 
person of great talent, and of amusing and delightful 
conversation. Once he had been a designer for the 
Florence cloth-weavers. He was on very friendly 
terms with Pope Clement, who took great pleasure 
in his talk. So one day when they were speaking 
together, the question arose of the sack, and the part 
which the Castle played in the defence of the city. 
Then the Pope, recalling me, paid me all the com- 
pliments you can think of; and added that if he only 
knew where I was, he would very much like to have 



me back again. Maestro Jacopo told him I was in 
Florence ; whereupon his Holiness ordered him to 
write to me to return. The letter was to the effect 
that I should come back to the service of Clement, 
and that it would be to my advantage so to do. The 
young fellows who were with me wanted to know 
what the letter was all about ; but this I hid from 
them as best I could ; and afterwards wrote to 
Maestro Jacopo, begging him on no account to 
write to me again, for good or ill. But his deter- 
mination only grew the stronger ; and he wrote to 
me once more, and in so exaggerated a style, that it 
would have gone ill with me had it been seen. The 
letter said the Pope desired me to go to Rome with- 
out delay, as he wanted me to undertake a thing of 
the greatest importance ; and that if I wished to do 
my duty, I should leave everything else behind me 
immediately, and not linger to war against a Pope in 
company with those mad fanatics. 

When I read the letter, I was so afraid that I went 
in search of my dear friend Pier Landi. At the sight 
of me he asked me at once what had happened that I 
seemed so worried. I said to my friend that I could 
not bring myself to tell him what was vexing me. 
Only, I begged him to take the keys I gave him, and 
return the jewels and the gold to such and such 
people, whose names he would find written down in 
my little book ; also to take away my household things 
and keep some account of all — with his usual kind- 
ness ', and in a few days I should let him know where 
I was. This shrewd young man, perhaps correctly 
guessing how things were, said to me, " My brother, 
be ofF with you at once. Then write to me ; and as 
for your things, don't give them another thought." 
This I did. He was the most faithful, the wisest, 
worthiest, discreetest, most loving-hearted friend whom 
I have ever known. Quitting Florence, I went to 
Rome, and from there I wrote. 


xliii. As soon as I reached Rome, I sought out some 
of my old friends, by whom I was welcomed with great 
affection. I set myself to work, which brought me 
in some money, but which is not worth describing. 
Now there was a certain goldsmith in the city, an old 
fellow called Raffaello del Moro. His reputation in 
the trade was high, and he was a very good sort of 
man besides. He begged me to do him the favour ot 
working in his shop, for he had some important works 
on hand, out of which excellent profits could be made. 
And I willingly closed with his offer. 

More than ten days passed and I had not yet gone 
to see Maestro Jacopino della Barca. But when he 
met me by chance he gave me the heartiest greeting, 
and asked me how long it was since I had come. 
About a fortnight, I told him. This he took very 
ill, saying I made very little account of a Pope who, 
with much insistence, had made him write three 
times for me ; and I, who had been still more vexed, 
answered him never a word, swallowing my wrath. 
He was a man of most fluent speech, and now he 
burst into a torrent of words. When at last I saw 
him worn out, I only said he might take me to the 
Pope whenever he liked. " Any time then," he 
answered ; and I was always ready, I replied. So 
off he set towards the palace, I with him, and the day 
was Maundy Thursday. When we reached the 
Pope's apartments, we were at once admitted, he 
being known, and I expected. The Pope was in bed, 
a little indisposed ; and Messer Jacopo Salviati and 
the Archbishop of Capua were with him. His Holi- 
ness was extraordinarily delighted at the sight of me ; 
and when I had kissed his feet with all the humility 
possible, I came nearer, and gave him to know I 
would fain talk with him of some weighty matters. 
Immediately he made a sign with his hand, and 
Messer Jacopo and the Archbishop retired a long way 
off. Without delay I began, "Most holy Father, 



ever since the sack I have not been able to confess or 
communicate, for they refuse nie absolution. And 
this is why. When I melted the gold, and had all 
the trouble of taking the jewels out of their setting, 
your Holiness ordered Cavalierino to pay me some 
little money for my pains. But I never got anything. 
Indeed, he showered abuse on me instead. So going 
up to the place where I had melted the gold, I washed 
the ashes, and found about a pound and a half of 
gold in little grains as fine as millet-seed. And as I 
had not money enough to take me home in decency, 
I bethought me to use this, and to return it when I 
had a chance. Now here I am at the feet of your 
Holiness, who is the true confessor. Of your favour, 
grant me leave to go and confess and receive the com- 
munion, that by your grace I may regain the grace 
of the Lord my God." 

Then the Pope, with something like a sigh, re- 
calling perhaps his afflictions, said to me, "Ben- 
venuto, most true it is I am what you say, and, 
therefore, I can absolve you of any offence you may 
have ccpimitted. Likewise I am willing. So tell 
me everything quite freely, and with good courage j 
for had you taken the value of a whole tiara, I am 
quite willing to pardon you." Then I answered, 
" I have done no more, most Holy Father, than what 
I have said ; and it did not come up to the value of 
a hundred and forty ducats, when I changed it at the 
mint at Perugia. And that sum I took home to 
comfort my poor old father." The Pope replied, 
" Your father was as talented, good, and worthy a 
man as ever was born ; and you do not in any way 
disgrace him. I am much vexed the money was so 
little ; but such as you say it was, I make you a pre- 
sent of it, and pardon you for all. Tell this to your 
confessor, if you have done nothing else which touches 
me. Then having confessed and communicated, come 
again to see me, and your visit shall not be in vain." 


As soon as I had left the Pope, Messer Jacopo and 
the Archbishop drew near again, and his HoHness 
spoke to them of me more warmly than I can tell, 
and told them he had confessed and absolved me. 
Then he ordered the Archbishop of Capua to send 
ior me to ask if I had any need save in the matter 
we had spoken ofj and he told him he was to 
absolve me, for he had full authority so to do, and to 
treat me with every kindness possible. 

On our way back. Maestro Jacopino was full of 
curiosity, and asked me what I had been talking 
about so long and secretly with the Pope. When 
he had repeated his question more than once, I said 
I should not tell him, for it concerned things that 
were no business of his, and he need not ask me 

I did all that I had arranged with the Pope ; and 
when the two festivals were over, went again to see 
him. His reception of me was even more kind 
than before j and he said, " If you had come to 
Rome a httle earlier, I should have had you repair 
those two tiaras of mine which we destroyed in the 
Castle. But as they are of little value apart from the 
jewels, I'll set you on a work of the greatest im- 
portance, where you'll have a chance of showing 
what you can do. It is a button for my cope, which 
is to be round like a trencher, and almost as big, 
that is, about the third of a cubit in diameter. On 
it I wish you to make a God-the-Father in half 
rehef ; and in the middle I want you to set in that 
fine diamond you know of and some other valuable 
jewels. A certain Caradosso once began it, but never 
finished it. Now I wish you to get it done quickly, 
for I would fain have some enjoyment out of it still. 
So go away and make me a good design." He 
showed me all the jewels, and then I was off home 
like a shot. 

xliv. While Florence was being laid siege to, 

D* 93 


Federigo Ginori, for whom I had made the medal of 
Atlas, died of consumption j and the medal fell into 
the hands of Messer Luigi Alamanni, who soon after 
took it as a present to Francis, King of France, 
together with some of his own finest writings. It 
pleased the king beyond measure ; and the most in- 
genious Luigi spoke so favourably to his Majesty of 
my personal character, as well as of my artistic skill, 
that the king declared his desire to make my 

Just then I was putting my whole energies into 
the model for the Pope's button, which I made 
exactly the size the finished work was to be. But 
many men in the goldsmith's trade resented my 
being employed on it, for they felt capable of doing 
the thing themselves. Now there had come to 
Rome a certain Michelotto, very skilful in engraving 
on cornehan, a very clever jeweller withal, and a 
man of years and great reputation. He had under- 
taken the repair of the Pope's two tiaras. While J 
was making the model, he was much surprised I did 
not come to him for advice, he being a very able 
man, and in great favour with the Pope. In the 
end, when he saw I did not mean to approach him, 
he came to me and asked me what I was working 
at. " On a commission from the Pope," I answered. 
Then he went on, "The Pope has ordered me to 
supervise everything that is made for him." To 
which I repHed that I should first ask his Holiness, 
and then should know what answer to make him. 
He said I should be sorry if I did this ; and going 
away from me in a rage, he foregathered with all the 
others of his trade. When they had talked the 
matter over, they gave it into the hands of Michele, 
who was clever enough to get more than thirty 
designs made by able designers of the button which 
had been ordered. Now he had the ear of the Pope ; 
and making a pact with another jeweller called 



Pompeo, a Milan man — also a great favourite of his 
Holiness, and a relation of Messer Traiano, first 
chamberlain of the household — these two, to wit, 
Michele and Pompeo, told Pope Clement they had 
seen my model, and that in their opinion I was not 
capable of carrying out so important a thing. The 
Pope replied that he, too, must see it. Then if I 
were really not capable, he would find some one who 
was. Whereupon they told him they had some 
splendid designs ready. That was a very good thing, 
said he, but added that he would rather not see them 
till I had finished mine, when he would inspect them 
all together. In a few days I had completed my 
model, and I took it one morning to his Holiness. 
Messer Traiano made me wait, and sent off at once 
for Michelotto and Pompeo, bidding them bring 
their designs. As soon as they had come, we were 
all shown in. Michele and Pompeo made haste to 
open out their drawings, and the Pope was just as 
eager to look at them. Now designers who are not in 
the jewellers' trade do not know how stones should 
be placed, and these had not been taught by practical 
men. For, of course, a jeweller, when he has to 
introduce figures among his precious stones, must 
know how to draw and compose a design ; otherwise 
he can do nothing of any worth. So in all those 
designs the marvellous diamond had been set right in 
the middle of God-the-Father's breast. The Pope, 
who had excellent taste, saw this blunder, and had 
no opinion of them at all. When he had looked at 
ten, he threw the rest on the floor, and said to me, 
who was standing aside, " Now, Benvenuto, let's 
have a glance at yours, that I may sec if you have 
made the same mistake." I stepped forward, and 
opened a little round box. A light seemed to kindle 
in the Pope's eye, and he cried aloud, " If you had 
been my very own self, you must have done it just 
like this. These fellows could have found no better 



way of shaming themselves." And many great lords 
coming up, the Pope pointed out the difference 
between my model and the others' designs. 

When he had praised it to the skies, and the rest 
stood terrified and dazed in the presence, he turned 
to me with, "But one difficulty occurs to me, and 
it is no slight matter. Benvenuto, my friend, wax 
is easy to work in. The point is to do it in gold." 
To this I replied eagerly, " Most holy Father, if I 
do not do it ten times better than my model here, 
it is agreed you do not pay me." Hereupon there 
arose cries from the courtiers standing round ; for 
they said I was promising too much. But one of 
them, a very great philosopher, spoke up for me, 
saying, " If I may judge from this young man's 
countenance and the symmetry of his person, he 
will do all that he says, and more." And the Pope 
rejoined, "That's why I, too, have confidence in 
him." And calling his chamberlain, Messer 
Traiano, he bade him bring five hundred gold ducats 
of the Camera. While we were waiting for the 
money, he again, and more at leisure, examined my 
ingenious method of employing the diamond with 
the God-the-Father. I had placed it exactly in the 
middle, and above it I had represented the Almighty 
seated in a noble posture, turned away somewhat 
from the spectator. This was a harmonious arrange- 
ment, and did not destroy the effect of the jewel. 
With His right hand held up. He was giving the 
benediction. Beneath the diamond I had placed 
three cherubs, supporting the stone with their uplifted 
arms. The middle one was in high relief, the other 
two in half. Round about were others, variously 
arranged with the rest of the fine jewels. God-the- 
Father had a floating mantle, from which my little 
cherubs peeped out ; and there were other charming 
decorations besides, each adding to the exquisite 
result. I had made the thing in white stucco on 



black stone. When the money was brought, the 
Pope gave it to me with his own hand, and in his 
pleasantest manner begged me to finish the button 
so that it might be worn in his days ; adding that it 
would be a good thing for me. 

xlv. I carried off the money and the model ; and 
it seemed to me an age till I could put my hand to 
the work. At the end of eight eager and laborious 
days, the Pope sent his chamberlain, a very great 
Bolognese nobleman, with a message that I was to 
go to him and take with me what I had done. On 
our way this chamberlain, who was the most agree- 
able person about the Court, told me it was not 
altogether to see the work that the Pope had sent 
for me. He meant also to give me another thing 
to do of the greatest importance, namely, the making 
of dies for the money of the Roman Mint. I had 
better be prepared with an answer to his Holiness ; 
and for that reason he had warned me. On being 
admitted to the Pope, I displayed the thin gold plate, 
on which was fashioned as yet only the God-the- 
Father. But this first sketch showed more strength 
and skill than the wax model, so that the Pope cried 
in his astonishment, "From this day forward I am 
willing to believe whatever you tell me." Then he 
paid me the most extravagant compliments, and 
added, "I want to give you another commission 
which I have as much at heart as this one — nay, 
more — if you are able to undertake it." Then he 
told me of his great desire to have dies made for his 
money ; asked me if I had ever made any, and if I 
was bold enough to attempt such a thing. I replied 
that I was most willing, that I had seen how such 
things were done, though I had never made them. 
In the presence was a certain Messer Tommaso of 
Prato, datary to his Holiness. Now he was very 
thick with my enemies, and so he said, "Most holy 
Father, you heap such fevours on this young man, 



who is naturally over - confident, that he would 
promise to remake the world for you. Already you 
have given him one big piece of work ; now you 
add a bigger, and one will fight against the other." 
The Pope turned on him in a rage, telling him to 
mind his own business. Then he ordered me to 
make a model of a broad golden doubloon. On one 
side was to be a Christ, naked, with His hands tied, 
and the legend Ecce Homo ; on the reverse a pope 
and an emperor, both of them propping a cross on 
the point of falling, with the inscription, Unus 
spiritus et una fides erat in els. When the Pope had 
given me the commission for this beautiful coin, in 
came Bandinello the sculptor, who was not yet made 
a knight, and with his wonted presumption clothed 
in ignorance, he said, "When these goldsmiths get 
such fine work to do, one has to find designs for 
them." At which I turned on him, saying I had no 
need of his help in my art, but had good hope, in 
time, with my designs to trouble him a bit in his 
own business. The Pope was as delighted as pos- 
sible with these words, and said to me, " Go now, 
my Benvenuto, and give all your mind to serving 
me, and pay no heed to what fools say." So I went 
away, and with all the speed in the world made two 
steel dies. Then having stamped a coin, I carried 
them all to the Pope one Sunday after dinner. 
When he saw them he was astounded, and his great 
satisfaction was not merely on account of the fine 
work, but also for the quickness of my execution. 
And to add to his pleasure and wonder, I had 
brought with me all the old coins which had been 
made in the past by those skilful men who had 
served Pope JuHus and Pope Leo. Seeing he was 
much more pleased with mine, I drew out of my 
bosom a petition asking for the office of Stamp- 
master to the Mint. It was worth six golden 
crowns a month, without counting the dies, which 



were paid by the Master of the Mint at a ducat for 
three. The Pope took my petition, and giving it 
into the hands of the datary, told him to see to the 
business at once. The datary took the paper, but 
as he was putting it in his pocket, he said, " Most 
holy Father, your Holiness should not go at such a 
furious pace. These are matters that merit some 
consideration." Then the Pope answered, " I have 
heard you. Now give me back the petition." And 
taking it, he signed it with his own hand, and 
returned it with the words, " There, the thing is 
settled. Hasten the matter ; such is my will — for 
Benvenuto's shoes are worth more than the eyes of 
all those other dull idiots." So having thanked his 
Holiness, I went off to my work in the highest 

xlvi. I was still working in the shop of RafFaello 
del Moro, whom I have spoken of. Now the good 
man had a fair young daughter, for whom he had his 
eye on me. And I, half aware of this, was quite 
willing. But while inwardly cherishing the desire, 
I showed nothing of it to the world. Indeed, so 
distant was I in my courtesies that he wondered at 
me. Now this poor child had a disease in her right 
hand, which had eaten into the bones of the little 
finger and the next one. Through the heedlessness 
of her father, she was attended by an ignorant quack, 
who said her whole right arm would be maimed, even 
if nothing worse came to pass. When I saw her 
poor father appalled at the prospect, I told him I did 
not believe all the ignorant doctor said. He replied 
that he had no acquaintance with any doctors or 
surgeons j and begged me, if I knew of one, to call 
him in. Without delay I sent for a certain Maestro 
Giacomo of Perugia, a most distinguished surgeon. 
The poor young girl was in despair, having guessed 
the verdict of the quack ; but when the man of skill 
had seen her, he said, on the contrary, that no harm 



would come of the thing, and that she would be 
perfectly able to use her right hand ; and that though 
the two last fingers might be a little weaker than the 
others, this would not matter in the least. So he 
began his treatment ; and when, after a few days, he 
was about to cut out the diseased portions of the 
bones, the father called me and asked me to look 
on while this was being done. For his operation 
Maestro Giacomo used some rough steel instruments. 
Seeing that with these he made Httle way, and hurt 
the girl terribly, I told him to stop and to wait a few 
minutes for me. So I ran to the shop, and made a 
little tool of finest steel, curved, thin as a hair, 
and sharp as a razor. Then I ran back with it to 
the Maestro, who began to operate so gently that 
she felt no pain ; and in a short time the thing was 
finished. For this service, and for other reasons, too, 
the worthy man conceived a greater affection for me 
than for his two sons. And so it was he set himself in 
good earnest to the care of his lovely young daughter. 
I had a very good friend in Messer Giovanni 
Gaddi, a clerk of the Camera, who took the greatest 
delight in the arts, though he had no talent for them 
himself. Living with him were Messer Giovanni, a 
very learned Greek ; Messer Lodovico da Fano, 
another man of learning ; Messer Antonio Allegretti ; 
and the young Messer Annibal Caro. Belonging to 
this society, though not of the household, were Messer 
Bastiano the Venetian, a most eminent painter, and 
myself; and nearly every day we saw each other at 
Messer Giovanni's. So it came about that the worthy 
goldsmith RafFaello, aware of this friendship, said to 
Messer Giovanni, " My friend, you know me. Now 
I want to marry my young daughter to Benvenuto ; 
and as I can think of no better go-between than your 
honour, I beg you to help me, and to settle as it please 
you what portion of my property shall be her dowry." 
Hardly had the good fellow finished speaking when 


the scatter-brained fool broke in, in the most purpose- 
less fashion, with " Speak no more of this, Raffaello, 
for you are farther from your end than is January 
from mulberries." So his hopes being dashed, the 
poor man tried to marry her to some one else ; and the 
mother, the girl herself, indeed the whole family, 
were angry with me, while I knew nothing of the 
reason. When I saw I was only getting bad money for 
all the courtesy with which I had treated them, I made 
up my mind to open a shop in their neighbourhood. 
And Messer Giovanni never told me a word of the 
matter till the girl was married, which took place a 
few months later. 

In the meantime I was striving hard to finish my 
work, and was serving the Mint the while ; for the 
Pope again gave me an order for a coin of the value 
of two carlins. His own head was to be stamped on 
the face ; and on the reverse, a Christ upon the waters 
stretching out His hand to St. Peter, with the legend, 
^are dubitasti ? This coin gave so much satisfac- 
tion that a certain secretary of the Pope, a very able 
man called II Sanga, said : " Your Holiness may con- 
gratulate yourself on having such coins as the ancients, 
with all their splendour, never possessed." Whereupon 
the Pope replied, " And Benvenuto, too, is fortunate 
in serving an Emperor like me, who know his talents." 
While I was working at the great gold piece, I showed 
it often to the Pope, for he entreated me so to do, 
and every time he saw it he was more astonished. 

xlvii. My brother was now also in Rome, in the 
service of Duke Alessandro, to whom the Pope had 
lately given the duchy of Penna, and who attached 
to himself a number of right valiant soldiers, trained 
in the school of that distinguished captain, Giovanni 
de' Medici. My brother was of this company, and 
by the Duke esteemed among the best. Well, 
after dinner one day, he went to the shop of 
Baccino della Croce, in the Banks, which was a 


gathering-place of these braves. There sitting down 
on a seat, he fell asleep. Just then passed by the 
Bargello guards, conducting a certain Captain Cisti, 
a Lombard, to prison. He, too, had been of the 
school of the great Lord Giovannino, but was not now 
in the service of the Duke. Captain Cattivanza degli 
Strozzi happened to be also in Baccino della Croce*s 
shop. Cisti caught sight of him, and said to him in 
passing, " I was bringing you some crowns I owed 
you i if you want them, come for them before they 
lock me up," Now Cattivanza loved to egg others 
on, though he would not risk much himself; so 
seeing several young fellows of spirit, more ready to 
dare than fit to embark on such an adventure, he 
bade them step up to Captain Cisti and make him 
give them the money. Should the guard resist, they 
were to defy it, if they had spirit enough. There 
were only four of these youths, and all four beardless. 
One was called Bertino Aldobrandi, another Anguil- 
iotto, of Lucea. The names of the others I cannot 
recall. Now Bertino had been trained by my 
brother, who felt the warmest affection for him. So, 
behold the four plucky young fellows coming up 
with the Bargello guards, who were more than fifty, 
and armed with pikes, arquebuses, and two-handed 
swords. Wasting but few words, the four put their 
hands to their weapons, and so harassed the guards, 
that had Captain Cattivanza but shown himself, 
even had he never drawn his sword, they would have 
put the gang to flight. But he delayed, and Bertino 
was wounded sorely, and he fell. Then Anguillotto 
at the same moment was wounded in the right arm, 
and no longer able to hold his sword, he retired as 
well as he could. The others did the same, and 
Bertino Aldobrandi was lifted from the ground in a 
serious condition. 

xlviii. While all this was happening we were 
at table, for that morning we were dining more 


than an hour later than usual. Hearing the noise, 
one of the sons, the elder, Giovanni by name, rose 
to go and see the fight. I called to him, "For 
God's sake, don't go ! There's always something 
to lose and nothing to gain in rows of that sort." 
And his father, too, said, " My son, I beg you not 
to go." But the youth would Hsten to none of 
us, and ran downstairs. Reaching the Banks, where 
the fight was going on, he saw Bertino being 
lifted from the ground. Then he turned and 
ran back. But on the way he met Cecchino, my 
brother, who asked him what was up. Some of 
the people standing by signed to Giovanni not to 
tell ; but like the mad fool he was, he blurted out 
that Bertino Aldobrandi had been murdered by the 
guard. My poor brother set up such a roar you 
might have heard it ten miles off. Then he said to 
Giovanni, " Ah, could you but tell me which of them 
has been the death of my friend ! " Giovanni 
answered, " Yes ; it was a man with a two-handed 
sword and a blue feather in his cap." On rushed 
my poor brother, and recognising the murderer by 
these signs, he threw himself with all his marvellous 
agility and dash into the midst of the guards ; and 
ere his particular enemy could help himself, he struck 
him in the belly, ran him through, and felled 
him to the ground with his sword-hilt. Then he 
turned on the others with such skill and fire that he 
alone would have put the whole of them to flight, 
had he not wheeled round to have at an arquebusier, 
who, to defend himself, let ofF his gun and hit the 
brave unlucky youth just above the right knee. As 
soon as he had fallen, the scattered guards made off 
in haste, lest another, like unto this assailant, should 
come up. Hearing that the tumult still continued, 
I, too, rose from table, and girt on my sword — 
for every man carried one in those days. At the 
Santo Agnolo bridge I saw a large group of men. I 


pushed on, and being known to some of them, place 
was made for me ; and I saw the last thing in 
the world I would have seen — yet there I was, all 
eagerness to look. At first I did not recognise him, 
for he was dressed in different clothes from those 1 
had seen him in a little while before. So it was he 
that first knew me, and said, " Dearest brother, do 
not lament my evil case, for in my profession I was 
bound to look for this. Only let me be taken away 
from here at once, for I have but a little while to 
live." While he was speaking they told me all that 
had happened, with the brevity the case called for. 
Then I replied, " Brother, this is the greatest grief, 
the greatest evil that can ever befall me. But be of 
good heart, for before you lose sight of him who 
wrought you this hurt, you shall see yourself revenged 
by my hands." His words and mine were to this 
clear effect, but of the briefest. 

xlix. The guard was now fifty paces off, for 
Maffio, their captain, had made a portion of them 
turn back to take away the body of the corporal 
whom my brother had killed. So hurrying along, 
wrapped round closely in my mantle, I came up 
with Maffio. Of a certainty I was near killing him, 
for the crowd was thick enough, and I was in the 
midst of it. Quick as Hghtning I had drawn my 
sword half out of its scabbard, when Berlinghier 
Berlinghieri, a most valorous young man, and a great 
friend of mine, seized my arms from behind. Four 
other young fellows were with him, and they cried to 
Maffio, " Off with you, for this man by himself was 
on the point of kiUing you." " Who is he ? " asked 
Maffio. " Brother of the man you see lying there," 
they answered. Having heard quite enough, the 
captain retired to the Torre di Nona as fast as 
possible, and my friend, turning to me, said, 
" Benvenuto, we kept you back against your will, 
but we did it for your good. Now let us go and 


help him who is shortly to die." So we went back 
to my brother, whom I had carried into a house. 
The doctors consulted together and treated him, but 
they could not make up their minds to cut off his 
leg, else they might perchance have saved him. 

As soon as the wound had been seen to, Duke 
Alessandro appeared, and spoke words of kindly 
affection ; and my brother, who was still clear in 
his mind, said to him : " My lord, for nothing do I 
grieve save that your Excellency loses a servant 
who might be excelled in valour in his profession, 
but than whom none ever served you with more love 
and faithfulness." The Duke bade him make up his 
mind to live ; as for the rest, well did he know him 
for a man of worth and valour. Then turning to 
the men who were with him, he told them to let the 
gallant youth want for nothing. After the Duke 
had gone, Cecchino became delirious from the great 
flow of blood which could not be staunched ; so that 
all next night he was quite frenzied, save that when 
they wished to give him the communion, he said, 
" You would have done well to confess me before. 
Now it is not possible for me to receive the divine 
sacrament in this wrecked body of mine. Be 
satisfied that I receive it with the divinity of the eyes, 
through which it shall reach my immortal soul, 
which begs mercy and pardon of God." When he 
had said these words, the host was raised ; but he fell 
at once into the same delirium as before — nay, his 
ravings grew still worse, and he uttered the most 
horrible words imaginable all that night till day- 
break. As the sun rose above the horizon, he turned 
to me and said, " My brother, I will stay no longer 
here, for these people will drive me to what will 
make them repent having meddled with me." Then 
he flung out both legs, and raised the injured one 
(which we had placed in a very heavy box) as if he 
were about to mount his horse. Turning his face ta 



me, he said three times, " Adieu ! adieu ! adieu ! " 
and with the last word that valiant soul passed 

At the appointed hour, which was evening, at 
twenty- two of the clock, I had him buried with the 
greatest honour in the Church of the Florentines j 
and later I raised to him a beautiful marble monu- 
ment, on which were cut trophies and banners. I 
must not forget to say that, when one of his friends 
asked him which of the arquebusiers shot him, and if 
he recognised him, he said yes, and he described the 
man. Although my brother took precautions against 
my hearing this, yet I had heard it perfectly ; and in 
the proper place I shall tell what came of it. 

1. To return to the stone. Certain very distin- 
guished men of letters, who knew my brother, brought 
me an epigram, which they said the admirable young 
man had merited. It ran thus : — Francisco Cellino 
Florentino^ qui quod in teneris annis ad Joannem 
Medicem ducem plures victorias retulit et signifer fuit^ 
facile documentum dedit quantce fortitudinis et consilii 
vir futurus erat^ ni crudelis fati archibuso transfossuSy 
quinto aetatis lustro jaceret^ Benvenutus f rater posuit, 
Obiit die xxvii Maii^ MDXXIX, He was twenty- 
five years old. Now because among the soldiers he 
was called Cecchino del PifFero — his real name being 
Giovanfrancesco Cellini — I wished to have the name 
by which he was commonly known written under 
our arms. So I had it cut in fine antique letters, 
which were all broken save the first and last. I was 
asked by those men of learning who had made the 
fine epitaph for me, the reason of the broken letters ; 
and I said because that wonderful machine, his body, 
was wrecked and dead. And as for the two entire 
letters, the first was in memory of that great gift 
from God, his soul, lit up by His divinity, the which 
was never broken ; the last was for the glorious fame 
of his valorous deeds. This conceit pleased them very 


much ; and since then others have made use of the 
same device. Near the name I cut on the stone the 
arms of our house of CeUini, w^hich, however, I did 
not follow quite exactly. For, as may be seen in 
Ravenna, that most ancient city, where there arc 
Cellinis of honourable and gentle quality, the arms 
are a golden lion rampant on a field of azure, clasp- 
ing a lily gules in its right paw, with a label-in-chief 
and three little lilies or. These are the real Cellini 
arms. My father showed me a scutcheon which had 
only the paw along with the other bearings ; but I like 
better to keep to that of the Ravenna Cellinis. To 
return to what I carved on my brother's tomb. I 
put in the lion's paw, but it grasped a hatchet instead 
of the hly, with the field of the arms quartered ; and 
the hatchet was there only that I might not forget 
to revenge him. 

li. I worked with the utmost energy to finish the 
gold work for Pope Clement, which he was in a 
great hurry for. Two or three times a week would 
he call me, so much did he want to see it, and each 
time he was better pleased. But frequently he 
reproved me, almost scolding me for mv deep gloom 
on account of my brother's death ; and still seeing 
me more overcome and wretched than was right, he 
said, one day, "Oh, Benvenuto, I did not know you 
were demented. Haven't you learnt before now 
that for death there is no remedy ? You are doing 
your best to follow him." 

I took my leave of the Pope, and went on with 
my gold work and the dies for the Mint ; but now 
better to me than courting a sweetheart was watching 
that arquebusier who had killed my brother. This 
man had once been a hght cavalry soldier, and then 
had enlisted as arquebusier among the Bargello's 
corporals. Now what added to my wrath was that 
he boasted of the thing, saying, "If it hadn't been 
for me, who killed that brave young fellow, in another 


minute, he, by himself, would have put us all to flight, 
with great damage, too." At last I saw that my 
suffering, caused by the constant sight of him, was 
hindering me from sleeping and from eating, and lead- 
ing me along an evil road. I stifled the thought of 
how low and dishonourable the undertaking was, and 
one evening I resolved once and for all to be done 
with the trouble. The man lived near a place called 
Torre Sanguigna, next door to a house where lodged 
one of the most favourite courtesans of Rome, called 
Signora Antea. The clock had just struck twenty- 
four. The arquebusier stood in the doorway after 
supper, sword in hand. I crept up stealthily, and with 
a Pistojan dagger dealt him a back stroke, thinking 
to cut his head right off. But he wheeled round 
suddenly, and the blow fell on the top of his left 
shoulder, cleaving the bone. Up he sprang, and 
dazed by the sore pain, he threw aside his sword, and 
began to run. I followed after, and came up with 
him in a step or two. Then raising my dagger above 
his bent head, I struck him on the nape of the neck, 
and the weapon went in so deep that I could not 
for all my efforts draw it out. For just then out 
of Antea's house came four soldiers clutching their 
swords, so that I was forced to handle mine to defend 
myself from them. Leaving my dagger sticking 
there, I made oflF, for fear of being recognised, to 
Duke Alessandro*s house, between the Piazza Navona 
and the Rotunda. As soon as I got there I told the 
Duke, who gave me to understand that, if I was alone, 
I had only to keep quiet and all should be well. I 
was to go on with the Pope's work, since he was so 
anxious to have it j and for eight days I had better 
work within doors. The soldiers who had stopped 
me, had now arrived, and were relating the whole 
affair ; they had the dagger in their hands, and told 
the great trouble they had had to pull it out of the 
neck-bone and head of the dead man, whose name 


they did not know. At this up came Giovan Bandini 
and said to them, " This dagger is mine, and I lent 
it to Benvenuto, who wanted to revenge his brother." 
Then the soldiers could not say enough of their regret 
at having interrupted me, though, indeed, I had got 
my fill of revenge. 

More than eight days passed, and the Pope did not 
send for me as was his wont j but at last he begged his 
chamberlain, the Bolognese nobleman of whom I have 
already spoken, to go and fetch me. With the utmost 
courtesy, the messenger told me that his Holiness knew 
everything, that he wished me well in every way, 
and that I was to go on working and keep quiet. 
Nevertheless, when I was admitted, he glowered : his 
eyes alone were enough to scare me. But when he 
examined my work, his face softened ; he heaped praises 
on me, and said I had done a very great deal in very 
little time. Then looking me straight in the face, 
he added, " Now that you have recovered, Benvenuto, 
give heed to your way of life." And I catching his 
meaning, said I would do so. Without delay I opened 
a handsome shop in the Banks, opposite RafFaello's, 
and there in a few months' time I finished the piece 
of work I had in hand. 

Hi. The Pope had sent me all the jewels except the 
diamond, which in an hour of need he had pledged 
to some Genoese bankers. So I had all the other 
stones, but only a model of the diamond. I kept five 
excellent journeymen ; for besides this piece of work 
I was doing a great deal of other business, so that the 
shop was crammed with valuable property, jewels, and 
gold, and silver. Now I kept a hairy dog in the 
house, a big, handsome creature which had been given 
me by Duke Alessandro. Though he was really a 
hunting dog, good for picking up all sorts of birds 
and other creatures when I was out shooting, yet he 
was wonderfully useful, too, as a watch dog. Now 
it happened about this time that (allowing myself the 


privileges of my age, which was nine and twenty) I 
had engaged a very beautiful and graceful girl as mv 
servant. I used her as a model in my work, and also 
enjoyed her favours. So I had my room apart from 
those of my workmen, and far away from the shop, 
and joined by an ante-room to the little hole which 
belonged to the young servant-maid. I used often 
to be with her ; and though I sleep as lightly as any 
man, yet on such occasions my slumber was very 
heavy and deep. So it was one night in particular. 
Now a thief, who had given himself out to be a 
goldsmith, had been watching me, had cast an eye 
upon the jewels, and made up his mind to rob me. 
So this night he ransacked the shop, and found a 
number of little gold and silver articles. But while 
he was in the act of breaking open some boxes to 
find the jewels, the dog rushed at him, and it was 
all he could do to defend himself with his sword. 
Then the creature ran hither and thither about the 
house, and entered the workmen's rooms, which were 
open, for it was summer time. When, for all his 
loud barking, they would not awake, he pulled the 
coverlets ofF them. And when still they would not 
hear, he seized one after another by the arm till he 
forced them to look up. Then barking with all his 
might, he tried to make them follow him. But at 
last he saw they would not, for the villains got angry, 
and began to throw stones and sticks at the dog. 
This they could see to do, for by my orders they kept 
a light burning all night. Then in the end they shut 
their doors, and the creature giving up all hope of 
help from the rascals, set himself alone to the adven- 
ture. Down he ran, only to find the thief had left 
the shop. But he found him, and struggling with 
him, tore the cloak from his back ; and who knows 
what else would have happened, if the man had not 
called on some tailors to help him, begging them for 
the love of God to defend him from a mad dog. 
I lO 


Thinking he spoke the truth, they rushed out and 
with great trouble drove the beast off. 

Day broke, and when the workmen came down to 
the shop they found it open, everything in confusion, 
and all the cases broken into. Then they began to 
call aloud, " Alack -a- day ! alack -a- day ! " and I, 
hearing this, and alarmed at the noise, ran out. 
When I appeared, they cried, " Oh, unhappy men 
that we are ! We have been robbed by someone 
who has broken all the cases, and taken everything 
away ! " These words wrought so strongly on me 
that I had not the courage to go to my chest to see 
if the Pope's jewels were still there. Indeed, such 
was my terror, that bewildered and almost blinded, I 
told them instead to open the box and see what was 
missing. The young men, who were all in their 
shirts, opened the chest and found all the jewels and 
with them the gold article I was working on. Then 
overjoyed, they cried out, " There's no great harm 
done, for your work and the jewels are all here — 
though the thief has left us nothing but our shirts ; 
for last night we all undressed in the shop on account 
of the great heat, and we left our clothes here." My 
strength then came back to me, and I said to my 
men, " Thank God all of you -, and clothe yourselves 
anew, and I shall pay for everything when I have 
heard the whole story more at leisure. 

What troubled me most, — what, indeed, bewildered 
and terrified me, on whom fear is not wont to have 
much hold, was the thought that people might say I 
had made up the story of the robber only that I 
might steal the jewels. For, indeed. Pope Clement 
had been warned by some of his most intimate 
friends, such as Francesco del Nero, Zana de' 
Biliotti, his accountant, the Bishop of Vaison, and 
others of that sort, who said to him, " Most holy 
Father, how can you trust jewels of such value to a 
reckless, fiery young man, who is more immersed in 
1 1 1 


arms than in art, and is not yet thirty years old ? " 
To this the Pope replied by asking if they knew of 
my having done anything which would give colour 
to such suspicions. Francesco del Nero, his treasurer, 
at once replied, " No, most holy Father, because he 
has never had a chance." Whereupon the Pope 
answered, " I believe him to be honest through and 
through, and even did I see him do wrong, I should 
not believe my eyes." So this was the thing which 
troubled me most, and which I now suddenly 

When I had made provision for the young men's 
new clothes, I took my piece of work, setting the 
jewels as best I could in their places, and went off 
with them in all haste to the Pope. Francesco del 
Nero had told him of the noises which had been 
heard in my shop, and his suspicions had been roused 
at once. Rushing to the conclusion that some mis- 
fortune had occurred, he turned a terrible look on 
me, and said in a haughty voice, " What have you 
come here for ? What is the matter ? " " Here 
are all your jewels and the gold ! Not a thing is 
missing," I cried. At that his face cleared, and he 
said, " Then you are welcome." I showed him the 
gold piece, and while he was looking at it, I told him 
all about the thief and my anxieties, and what had 
been my greatest worry. While I was speaking, he 
turned several times and looked me straight in the 
face, and as Francesco del Nero was also with him, it 
seemed as if he half regretted his suspicions. In the 
end the Pope burst out laughing at all the things I 
had to tell him, and as he took leave of me said, " Be 
off, and see that you remain the honest fellow I know 
you for." 

Hii. While I was engaged on the Pope's commission, 

and working steadily for the Mint as well, there 

began to circulate in Rome certain false coins 

stamped with my own special dies. They were 



immediately brought to the Pope, who, when 
suspicion was cast on me, said to Jacopo Balducci, 
the Master of the Mint, " Do your very utmost to 
find the culprit, for we know that Benvenuto is an 
honest man." But this rascally Mint-master, who 
was my enemy, rejoined, " Please God, most holy 
Father, that it be as you say, for we have reason to 
think the contrary." Whereupon the Pope turned 
to the governor of Rome, and ordered him to take 
immediate steps to find the guilty man. While the 
inquiries were being made, he sent for me ; cunningly 
led up to the question of the coins, and just at the 
right moment, said, " Benvenuto, would you dare 
to make false money ? " To this I answered that I 
believed I could do it better than any of the men 
engaged in the vile trade ; for those who betake 
themselves to that mean business are not such as 
know how to earn money, nor have they any real 
talent, whereas I, with my poor wits, earned as 
much as I needed. For when I made dies for the 
Mint, every morning before dinner I had earned at 
least three crowns — such was the usual payment ; 
and indeed that rascal of a Mint-master bore me no 
goodwill, because he would fain have got them 
cheaper. Thus what I gained by God*s grace and 
men's favour was quite enough for me ; and in 
making false coins I should not come off so well. 
The Pope saw clearly what I meant ; and whereas 
before he had ordered them to watch shrewdly lest I 
should leave Rome, now he said they were to make 
thorough search for the real culprit, and to leave me 
out of the business ; for he had no wish to vex me, 
and thus perhaps to lose my services. Those to 
whom he gave these peremptorv orders were clerks 
of the Camera, who set about the search with due 
diligence, in accordance with their duty, and found 
the culprit without delay. He was a stamper of the 
Mint, called Ceseri Macherone, a citizen of Rome. 


His accomplice, a metal-founder, also in the service 
of the Mint, was arrested along with him. 

Hv. On that same day I happened to be passing 
through the Piazzo Navona with my fine dog. I 
had reached the Bargello gate when the creature 
gave a great bound, and, barking loudly, dashed in at 
the opening and threw himself on a young man, who 
had just been arrested on suspicion of robbing a certain 
Donnino, a Parma goldsmith, once a pupil of Cara- 
dosso. My dog was evidently so bent on tearing him 
savagely to pieces that the police were moved to pity ; 
and the more so as the bold young fellow had plenty 
to say for himself, and Donnino could not make out 
a clear case against him. Besides, one of the corporals 
of the guards, a Genoese, knew the youth's father. 
So what between the dog and these other circum- 
stances, they were in a mind to let the fellow go his 
way without hindrance. But as soon as I came up, 
the dog, afraid of neither swords nor sticks, was 
throwing itself again on him ; and I was told that if 
I did not take the beast away, they would murder it. 
I tugged at the creature as hard as I could ; but while 
the young man was pulling up his cloak, some little 
paper packets fell out of the hood, and Donnino 
recognised in them some things of his. I, too, 
caught sight of a little ring I knew well, and cried 
out, " This is the man who broke into my shop and 
robbed me. That's why my dog knows him again.'* 
I let go the dog, and he flew at the fellow once more. 
Then the thief pleaded with me, promising to return 
what he had of mine. So while I held the dog fast, 
he gave up all the gold and silver and rings he had 
stolen, and five and twenty crowns besides. Then 
he begged for mercy, whereat I advised him to recom- 
mend himself to God, saying I should do him nor 
harm nor good. Then I went back to my business. 
A few days after, Ceseri Macherone, the coiner, was 
hanged in the Banks, in front of the door of the 


Mint, and his companion was sent to the galleys. 
The Genoese robber was hanged in the Campo di 
Fiore ; and my fame as an honest man was higher 
than ever before. 

Iv. I had just nearly finished my work when the 
huge inundation took place which flooded the whole 
of Rome. The day was waning as I stood watching it. 
Twenty-two o'clock had just struck, and I saw the 
water rising very fast. Now the front of my house 
and shop was towards the Banks ; but the back was 
several cubits higher, and looked towards Monte 
Giordano. So thinking first of my safety, and then 
of my honour, I secured all the jewels on my person, 
and left my gold work in the keeping of my work- 
men. Then, barefoot, I got down through my back 
window, and, as well as I could, waded through the 
water till I found myself at Monte Cavallo, where I 
Found Messer Giovanni Gaddi, clerk of the Camera, 
md Bastiano Veneziano, the painter. Greeting Messer 
Giovanni, I gave all the jewels into his custody ; for 
he looked on me as his brother. A few days later, 
when the fury of the flood had passed, I went back 
to my shop, and finished my work so happily, by 
God*s help and my own efforts, that it was held to 
be the finest thing of the kind ever seen in Rome. 
When I took it to the Pope, he could not sing my 
praises loud enough. " If I were a rich emperor," 
said he, " I would give my Benvenuto all the land his 
eyes could run over. But we in these days are poor 
bankrupt princes ; nevertheless, we shall give him 
bread suflicient for his little wants." I let him 
chatter his fill ; and then I asked him for a mace- 
bearer's place which was vacant. On which he said 
he wanted to give me something far more important 
than that. But I begged his Holiness to give me 
this little thing in the meanwhile as a pledge. He 
burst out laughing, and said he was willing, but he 
did not want me to serve ; and he bade me arrange 



with the other mace-bearers that I should be exempt. 
Then he granted the favour which they had aheady 
asked of him, namely, leave to make legal claim for 
their salaries. This was done. And out of the 
mace-bearer's post I made little less than two hundred 
crowns a year. 

Ivi. I continued to work for the Pope, now in little 
things, now in big ; and one day he ordered me to 
design a splendid chalice for him. For this I made 
both a drawing and a model in wood and wax. For 
the knob of the lid I had conceived three little 
figures of a fair size, in the round — Faith, Hope, and 
Charity, — and for the stand, three corresponding de- 
signs, modelled in low relief, one being the Nativity 
of Christ, another the Resurrection, the third St. 
Peter crucified with his head downwards — for so was 
I ordered to do the thing. While I was at work on 
this, the Pope was always wanting to see it. But as 
his Holiness had never remembered to give me any- 
thing, and as a post in the Fraternity of the Piombo 
was vacant, one evening I asked him for it. The good 
Pope, quite forgetting his wild eulogy of me when 
I had finished the other pieces of work, said, " The 
place in the Piombo is worth more than eight hundred 
crowns, so that if I give it to you, you'll do nothing 
but sit and scratch yourself in the sun ; and then your 
fine dexterity of hand will all be wasted, and the 
blame will be mine." Whereupon I broke out that 
cats of good breed hunt better fat than lean, and 
honest men use their talents to better purpose when 
they have enough to live on. "And so let it be 
known unto your Holiness," I continued, " that those 
princes who generously maintain such men, give 
increase to their talents, which are born starveling 
and diseased ; know, likewise, that I did not ask for 
the place thinking to obtain it. I am lucky enough 
to have that wretched mace-bearer's post. I only 
played with the fency of having this one. And your 


Holiness will do well, since he does not wish me to 
have it, to give it to an able and deserving man, and 
not to some great lazy lubber, who will sit and 
scratch himself in the sun, to use your Holiness's 
own words. Take example from Pope Julius of 
happy memory, who gave just such an office to 
Bramante, the distinguished architect." And hastily 
doing him reverence, I went off in a rage. 

Then there came into him Bastiano Veneziano, 
the painter, who said, "Most holy Father, let your 
Holiness be pleased to give the place to one who is 
zealous in his art. Now you know my zeal, and I 
beg that you will deem me worthy of it." Said the 
Pope, " That devil of a Benvenuto will not brook 
being spoken to. I was disposed to give it to him, 
but he shouldn't be so haughty with a Pope. So I 
am not sure what I shall do." At that moment in 
c^me the Bishop of Vaison, who pleaded for Bastiano, 
saying, " Most holy Father, Benvenuto is young, and 
a sword by his side befits him better than a friar's 
frock. Let your Holiness be pleased to give the 
place to this worthy man Bastiano, and at another 
time you can give Benvenuto something which per- 
haps may suit him better than this." Then the 
Pope turned to Messer Bartolommeo Valori, and said, 
" When you meet Benvenuto, tell him from me that 
it is his own fault that Bastiano the painter has got 
the post in the Piombo. But also let him know 
that the first good thing vacant shall be his. In the 
meantime he is to conduct himself well and finish 
my work." Next evening, two hours after night- 
fall, I met Messer Bartolommeo Valori at the corner 
of the Mint. Two torch-bearers were walking in 
front of him, and he was in a tremendous hurry, 
having been called to the Pope. But when I saluted 
him, he stopped and called my name, and with the 
greatest courtesy told me all his Holiness's message. 
I repHed that I should go on with my work with 
E 117 


even greater diligence and zeal than I had shown 
before, but quite without hope of reward. Then 
he reproved me, saying this was not the way to 
respond to the overtures of a Pope. To which I 
answered that, knowing his promises to be empty, I 
should be a fool, were I to build my hopes on such 
words, or to give any other reply. And so I left 
him, and went to attend to my business. Now 
Messer Bartolommeo must have repeated my hot 
words, and perhaps he added to them, so that for 
more than two months the Pope never sent for me ; 
and in all that time I would not have gone to the 
palace for anything in the world. But his Holiness 
was dying to have the work, and so he ordered 
Messer Roberto Pucci to look after me a bit. That 
good fellow came every day to see me, and had always 
a kindly word for me, as I had for him. The day 
was drawing near when the Pope was to go to 
Bologna. Perceiving at last that I would not go to 
him of my own accord, he sent me word by Messer 
Roberto that I was to bring my work, for he wished 
to see how I had got on. This I did, and having 
proved that the greater part was done, I begged him 
to give me five hundred crowns, part in payment of 
the work, and the rest to procure gold to finish it. 
" Get on with it first," said he ; " make haste and 
have done with it." I repeated that I would complete 
it, if he provided me with money ; and so I took my 

Ivii. When the Pope went away to Bologna, he 
left Cardinal Salviati his legate in Rome; and he 
ordered him to harry me about the work, saying, 
" Benvenuto is a man who thinks Httle of his own 
talent, and still less of us. Therefore, see that you 
keep him at the work, that I may find it complete on 
my return." So that brute of a cardinal sent for me 
at the end of eight days, telling me to bring the 
thing ; whereupon I went to him, but without the 


chalice. When I was before him, he broke out with, 
"Where's that rubbish heap of yours ? Is it ready ? " 
To which I repHed, " O most reverend monsignor, 
it is not ready — nor is it likely to be so. Can one 
make bricks without straw ? " At these words the 
Cardinal, who looked more like an ass than a human 
being, became uglier than ever, and cut into my 
answer with, " I'll send you to the galleys, and you'll 
have the chance of finishing it there." I answered 
the beast according to his beastliness, and said, 
"Monsignor, when I have committed a crime worthy 
of the galleys, you shall send me there ; but for my 
present sins I don't fear your galleys. Moreover, I 
tell you that, just because of your lordship's meddling, 
I'll not do a stroke more work on the thing. So 
don't send for me again. This is the last you'll see 
of me, were you to send the guards to fetch me." 
The Cardinal afterwards adopted a coaxing tone, try- 
ing several times to show me it was my duty to 
continue the work, and to bring it up for inspection. 
But I answered his messengers, " Tell Monsignor to 
send me the straw if he wishes me to finish my 
bricks " ; and never another word did I answer, so 
that he gave up the business as a bad job. 

Iviii. When the Pope came back from Bologna, he 
asked for me at once, for the Cardinal had written 
the worst report possible of what I was about. In 
the greatest fury imaginable he sent word to me to 
come and show him the work ; and I did so. Now 
while the Pope had been absent, I had had such a 
serious attack of inflammation in the eyes, that I 
almost died of the pain. That was the reason why 
I had not gone forward with the work. So much 
did I suffer that I thought of a certainty I should 
lose my sight. Indeed, I had been calculating how 
much would suflice me to live on when I should be 
blind. Well, on my way to see the Pope I thought 
of how I could excuse myself for not having been 


able to get on with the work, and I determined, 
while his Holiness was examining the thing, to tell 
him about my case. But I had no chance of doing 
so, for at my entrance he burst out rudely, " Here 
with your work ! Is it finished ? " So I began un- 
wrapping it. Then with still greater fury he cried, 
" God's truth ! you brag of not caring a rap for 
anybody. I tell you that, if it weren't for the 
example of the thing, Fd throw you and your work 
out of the window ! " Seeing that he was in a beast 
of a temper, my one thought was to remove myself 
from his presence ; and while he was still hectoring, 
I put the thing under my cloak, muttering, " Nothing 
in the world could force a blind man to finish a piece 
of work like that ; " whereat he roared still louder, 
" Come here ! What are you saying ? " I was in 
two minds whether I should rush headlong down- 
stairs or not ; but I decided to stay, and, throwing 
myself on my knees, I cried out lustily — for he was 
roaring all the time — " And when I have become 
blind, am I still forced to work ? " Whereupon he 
answered, " But you saw well enough to find your 
way here ; and I don't believe a word you tell me ! " 
Then when he had begun to speak in a calmer voice, 
I answered, " Let your Holiness ask his own doctor, 
and he will learn the truth." "At our leisure we 
shall find out if things be as you say," he rejoined. 
Perceiving by this that he was giving some heed to 
me at last, I went on, " The sole cause of my serious 
malady, according to my belief, is Cardinal Salviati. 
For as soon as your Holiness had gone away, he sent 
for me, and when I had come he called my work a 
rubbish heap, and said he would make me finish it in 
the galleys. And so did his insolent words affect me, 
that in my wild passion I felt my face on fire, and 
such a tremendous heat seized on my eyes that I 
could hardly find my way home. Then a few days 
after, two cataracts appeared, and I saw no light at 


all. Therefore, after your departure I was able to 
get no work done." Rising from my knees, I took 
my leave, and afterwards was told that the Pope said, 
" Give orders as one may, one cannot give discretion 
with them. I never told the Cardinal to put such 
heat into the business ; and if it be true that Ben- 
venuto has something the matter with his eyes, 
which I shall learn from my doctor, one must have 
some pity on him." Now there was in the presence 
a great friend of the Pope, a most distinguished 
person. He asked his Holiness what manner of man 
I was. " I ask you, most blessed Father, because it 
seemed to me you were at once more angry than I 
have ever seen you and more indulgent. That is 
why I ask you who he is. For if he deserves to be 
helped, I can let him into a secret which will cure 
his malady." So the Pope replied, " He is the 
greatest master in his profession, and one day when 
you are with me, I shall let you see some wonderful 
work of his. I'll show you himself at the same 
time, and if you see you can do him some good, I 
shall be much pleased." So three days later the 
Pope sent for me after dinner, and when I arrived 
this nobleman was with him. His Holiness bade my 
cope button be fetched, and in the meanwhile I drew 
out my chalice. The nobleman said he had never 
seen so wonderful a work ; and when the button was 
brought, his wonder grew still more, and, looking me 
in the face, he said, " He is young to know so much, 
and still most apt to learn." Then he asked my 
name. " Benvenuto is my name," I replied. To 
which he answered, " Benvenuto shall I now be to 
you. Take fleur-de-lis — blossoms, stalks, roots, and 
all — and stew them over a slow fire. With this 
water bathe your eyes several times a day, and you 
will certainly be cured of the malady. But first 
purge yourself, and then go on using the water." 
The Pope spoke some affectionate words to me, 


and I went oft' rather more content than I had 

lix. It was true I had been ill ; but I think I had 
caught the malady from that pretty young servant girl 
whom I had in my house at the time I was robbed. 
The French evil was latent in me for four whole 
months ; then all at once it covered my body. It 
did not show itself in the usual form, for I was 
covered with red boils of the size of farthings. The 
doctors were never willing to call it by the name of 
the French evil ; and yet I told them why I thought 
it was so. I continued to treat myself in their 
fashion, and got no better. Then at last I made up 
my mind to take lignum vitae, against the wishes 
of the first doctors in Rome. I took it with the 
greatest system and abstinence you can imagine, and 
in a few days I felt very much better, so that at the 
end of fifty days I was cured, and as sound as a fish 
in the sea. Then as a restorative after my great 
exhaustion, as soon as winter came on, I amused 
myself with shooting. This forced me through the 
wind and the water, and to stand about in the 
marshes, so that in a few days I was a hundred times 
worse than before. Once more I put myself into the 
hands of the doctors, and they went on treating me ; 
but I grew worse. When the fever attacked me 
again, I made up my mind to take the guaiac. The 
doctors would not hear of it, and told me that did 
I have recourse to it while I still had fever, I 
should be dead in a week. However, I made up my 
mind to disobey them, and I kept to the same 
system as before. When I had drunk the guaiac 
water for four days, the fever left me quite, and I 
began to feel wonderfully restored. While I was 
treating myself thus, I was all the time getting on 
with the models ; and during this period of abstinence 
I made the finest things and the rarest designs I ever 
did in my life. At the end of fifty days I was alto- 


gether cured, and with the utmost care set myself 
to fortify my health. After this long fast I was 
cleansed from my malady as if I had been born 
again. But though I took pleasure in the restoration 
of my health, I did not work the less, now at the 
Pope's chalice and now at the Mint ; each of these 
tasks had their due share of my energies. 

Ix. Now it fell out that Cardinal Salviati was made 
legate to Parma ; and he bore me a great ill-will, as 
I have told you already. Well, in Parma a certain 
Milanese, a goldsmith and false coiner called Tobbia, 
was arrested and sentenced to be hanged and burned. 
His case was referred to the legate, who was told he 
was a man of great talent. So the Cardinal stayed 
the execution of the sentence, and wrote to Pope 
Clement, telling him that he now had in his hands 
the cleverest man in the goldsmith's trade, and that 
he was condemned to be hanged and burned for 
coining false money. But the man was simple and 
good, he said ; for he had asked the advice of his 
confessor, who had, according to Tobbia, given him 
liberty to do it. And the Cardinal added, "If 
you have this great man in Rome, your Holiness 
will be taking down Benvenuto's pride ; and I am 
sure that Tobbia's work will please you much more." 
And so the Pope sent for him to Rome. When he 
had come, his Holiness called for the two of us, and 
ordered us to make a design for the setting of a 
unicorn's horn, the finest ever seen, which had cost 
seventeen thousand ducats of the Camera. The 
Pope intended it as a gift for King Francis, and 
wished to have it richly set in gold. As soon as we 
had made our designs, each of us brought his to the 
palace. Tobbia's was a kind of candelabra, with the 
fine horn taking the place of the candle, while at the 
base were four unicorns' heads, so wretched in design, 
that when I saw it I couldn't help sniggering. 
The Pope noticed this, and called out, " Show yours." 


Now mine was one unicorn's head of a size corre- 
sponding to the horn. I had made the finest thing 
of it imaginable, for I had modelled it half on a 
horse and half on a stag, and had added a very fine 
mane and other kinds of adornments. As soon as 
mine was seen, of course every one declared it was 
the best. But some Milanese people were present 
during the contest, and they said, " Your Holiness is 
going to send this fine gift to France. But surely 
you know that the French are gross persons, who 
will not recognise the excellence of Benvenuto's 
work. A thing like this now," they said, pointing 
to Tobbia's design, "will please them, and such 
things do not take so long to make. Then Ben- 
venuto can give himself up to finishing your chalice, 
and thus two things will be done in the same time. 
Besides, this poor man whom you have sent for, will 
be employed too." The Pope, most anxious to have 
his chaHce, seized on the advice of the Milan men, 
and next day ordered Tobbia to set the unicorn's 
horn, and sent word to me by his Master of the 
Wardrobe that I was to finish the chalice. To this 
message I replied that I desired nothing better, that 
if it were made of anything else than gold I could 
easily do so without his help ; but as it was of gold, 
his Holiness must provide me with the material, if he 
wished to have it completed. At these words this 
low-born minion of the court cried, " Oh, do not ask 
the Pope for gold, or you will put him into such a 
rage as will be your undoing." " Will your honour 
inform me how to make bread without flour ? " I 
asked. "Well then, without gold this work will 
never get done." And the Master of the Wardrobe, 
not unaware I was laughing at him, said he would 
report all I had said to the Pope. And so he did. 
The Pope got into a fierce passion, and said he just 
wished to see if I was mad enough not to finish it. 
And so two months passed. Though I had indeed 


said I would not do a stroke more, I was better than 
my word, for I went on working with the greatest 
eagerness. But seeing that I did not bring it to him, 
his Holiness began to bear me a real grudge, and to 
say he would make me suffer for my conduct in some 
way or another. He said so one day in the presence of 
one of his own jewellers, a Milanese called Pompeo, 
nearly related to a certain Messer Traiano, Pope 
Clement's favourite servant. These two put their 
heads together, and said to Clement, " If your Holi- 
ness were to take away his place at the Mint, perhaps 
you would breed in him a desire to finish the chalice." 
But the Pope answered, " Then I should incur two 
evils. I should be badly served at the Mint, which 
is a thing of great importance to me, and most 
certainly I should never have the chalice." Never- 
theless, these two Milanese — seeing him badly dis- 
posed towards me — so swayed him in the end that he 
did indeed take away the Mint from me, giving it to 
a young Perugian known by the name of Fagiuolo. 
Then came Pompeo to tell me how his Holiness had 
deprived me of my place ; and that if I did not finish 
the chalice, he would take other things away too. 
To which I answered, " Tell his Holiness that, 
for the Mint, the loss is his, not mine ; and so 
shall it be with the other things ; and if he should 
desire me to accept it again, I shouldn't think of 
consenting." And the graceless, ill-conditioned fool 
thought he could not run back quickly enough to 
tell him all I had said — and what he had invented 
besides. Eight days after the Pope sent me another 
message by the same man, that he no longer desired 
me to finish the chalice, and that he wanted it back 
just as it was. I answered Pompeo, " This is not 
like the Mint, which he had the power to take from 
me. True, the five hundred crowns which I had, 
belong to his Holiness, and these I shall return at 
once. But this work is mine, and I shall do just 
E* 125 


what I like with it." Off ran Pompeo to tell the 
Pope these words, and some other stinging ones too, 
which, not without reason, I had shot at himself. 

Ixi. After two or three days, one Thursday there 
came to me two of his Holiness's favourite cham- 
berlains. One of them is alive now, and a bishop. 
His name was Messer Pier Giovanni, and he was 
attached to the Pope's Wardrobe. The other was of 
still higher rank, but his name has gone clean out of 
my head. When they had come to me they said, 
" We are sent by the Pope, Benvenuto, to bid you, 
since mild measures are useless with you, either give 
us up the chalice, or go with us to prison." Then I 
looked cheerfully in their faces as I answered, " My 
lords, if I were to give it up to his Holiness, I should 
be giving what belongs to me and not to him ; and 
for the moment I have no desire to do anything of 
the kind, for I have worked at this thing with my 
best energies, and I do not want it to get into the 
hands of some ignorant bungler, who would spoil it 
with a light heart." The goldsmith Tobbia was 
standing by as I said this, and he had even the face 
to ask me for the design of the work. I answered 
the rascal according to his deserts ; but what I said 
need not be repeated here. Then when the gentle- 
men of the chamber urged me to make my prepara- 
tions, I told them I was ready, and took up my 
cloak. But before I went out of my shop, I turned 
most reverently, my cap in my hand, to an image 
of Christ, and said, "O our gracious, immortal, just, 
and holy Lord ! all that Thou doest is according to 
Thy justice, which is without equal. Thou knowest 
that I have come to the age of thirty, and never 
till now have I been threatened with prison. Now 
that Thou wiliest I should go to prison, I thank Thee 
with all my heart." Then turning to the two cham- 
berlains I said, with one of my menacing looks, 
" No meaner guards than you would befit a man like 


me. So put me between you, and as your prisoner 
take me where you will." The two gentlemen 
burst out laughing, placed themselves one on each 
side of me, and, with pleasant discourse by the way, 
conducted me to the governor of Rome, who was 
called Magalotto. When we had reached him, we 
found the procurator-fiscal with him, and they were 
both waiting me. Then the two lords of the 
chamber, still laughing, said to the governor, "We 
consign to you this prisoner ; have good care of him. 
It is a great satisfaction to us that we have done your 
police officers' business, for Benvenuto has been tell- 
ing us that, as this is his first arrest, guards of our 
rank are no more than his due." Then they left us 
and went to the Pope. When they had told him 
everything exactly, it looked at first as if he were to 
burst out in a fury. But then he forced a laugh, for 
in the presence were certain lords and cardinals, 
friends of mine, in whose favour I stood high. 

Meanwhile the governor and the fiscal were now 
bullying me, now exhorting me, now giving me 
advice. It was only reasonable, said they, that one 
who ordered a piece of work could take it back when 
he liked, and as he liked. To which I said that 
justice allowed nothing of the sort — no, not even to 
a Pope. For surely a Pope was not like those 
tyrannic little lords who do every wrong possible 
to their people, observing neither law nor justice. 
'Twas not for a Vicar of Christ to act like that. 
Whereupon the governor, putting on his Jack-in- 
office air, said, " Benvenuto, Benvenuto, you are 
doing your best to make me give you your deserts. 
You should treat me with respect and courtesy, if 
you would behave towards me according to my 
merits." Then again he said, "Send for the work 
at once, and don't wait a second telling." To this 
I replied, "My lords, of your grace I would say just 
a word or two concerning my case." The fiscal, 


who was far discreeter in the exercise of his office 
than the governor, turned to the latter and said, 
"Monsignor, give him leave to speak a hundred 
words if he pleases. If so be he gives up the chalice, 
that's all we want." Then I took up the word, 
"Supposing any man whatsoever had ordered the 
building of a palace or a house, he might with justice 
say to the man who was building it, ' I do not wish 
you to work any more on my house or my palace.* 
When he had paid him for his labours, he could send 
him away. Again, supposing some lord who 
owned a jewel worth a thousand crowns, wished to 
have it set. If the jeweller did not serve him as he 
wished, he might say, 'Give me back my jewel, for 
I do not want your work.' But this case of mine 
does not come under either of these heads. It is not 
a matter of a house or a jewel. You can say nothing 
to me save that I should return the five hundred 
crowns which I have had. Therefore, my lords, do 
whatever you can, for you shall have nothing of me 
except the five hundred crowns. And tell this to 
the Pope, ' Your threats do not frighten me in the 
least. I am an honest man, and have no sins to be 
ashamed of.' " Thereupon the governor and the 
fiscal rose, telHng me that they were going to the 
Pope and should return with orders, and then I 
might look out for myself! So I remained guarded, 
and walked in the meanwhile up and down a large 
hall. It was nearly three hours before they came 
back from the Pope. During this time all the best 
of our Florentine merchants came and entreated me 
not to quarrel with his Holiness, for it might be the 
ruin of me. But I replied that I was quite clear in 
my mind as to what I wanted to do. 

Ixii. As soon as the governor and the fiscal had 

returned from the palace, they sent for me, and the 

former spoke to me in this wise, " Benvenuto, of a 

truth, it grieves me to come from his HoHness with 



the orders I have — to wit, that you find the chalice 
instantly — or look to your own safety." Then I 
answered I had never believed till that hour a holy 
Vicar of Christ could do such injustice ; and even 
now must see it before I could believe it. "So, 
therefore, do what is in your power," I added. 
Once more the governor replied, "I have still two 
words to say to you from the Pope, and then I shall 
execute the orders given me. He says you are to 
bring the chalice here to me, and I am to see it put 
in a box and sealed. Then I am to take it to the 
Pope, who promises upon his honour not to break 
the seal. He will return it to you at once. But he 
insists on this being done, that his honour also may 
be satisfied." I answered, laughing, that I would 
give up my work right willingly in the way he 
suggested, for I had a mind to find out what a Pope's 
word was made of. And so, having sent for the 
thing and sealed it in the way agreed on, I gave it 
to him. Then the governor went back to the Pope 
with the sealed chalice, and — according to what he 
told me — his Holiness took the case, turned it over 
several times, and then asked the governor if he 
had seen it. He answered yes, and that it had 
been sealed in this way in his presence, adding that 
it had seemed to him a wonderful work. Where- 
upon the Pope said, "Tell Benvenuto that Popes 
have authority to loose and to bind much greater 
things than this ; " and while he said these words he 
opened the box with something like anger, taking 
off the cord and the seal with which it was fastened. 
He gazed at it for a long time, and, as I believe, 
showed it to Tobbia, the goldsmith, who praised it 
loudly. When the Pope asked him if he could make 
something like it, he answered yes. His Holiness 
told him he was to follow the design exactly, and, 
turning to the governor, he said, " Find out if Ben- 
venuto will give it up to us. If he will, I'll pay 


him what connoisseurs say it is worth. Or, if he 
really wishes to finish it, let him fix a date ; and if 
you see he is actually in earnest, let him have what- 
ever he needs for the work — in reason." Then said 
the governor, "Most Holy Father, I know the 
violent nature of the young man. Authorise me to 
give him a sound rating in my own fashion." To 
this the Pope replied that he might do what he 
Hked, so far as words were concerned, though he was 
sure he would make the thing worse ; also if he saw 
he could do nothing more, he was to tell me to take 
the five hundred crowns to Pompeo, his jeweller. 

The governor came back, called me into his 
room, and looking at me as if I had been in the dock, 
said, " Popes have authority to loose and to bind 
anything in the world, and Heaven at once proclaims 
the deed well done. Here is your chalice, opened 
and examined by his HoHness." At that I lifted 
up my voice and cried, " I thank God that now I 
can tell what a Pope's word is made of." Then the 
governor's words and manner to me became intoler- 
ably insolent ; but seeing that he gained nothing by 
this, and altogether hopeless of the business, he took 
on a milder tone and said, " Benvenuto, I am much 
grieved that you refuse to see where your advantage 
lies. But go^ take the five hundred crowns when- 
ever you like to Pompeo." With my chalice in my 
hand, away I went, and without delay delivered up 
the money. Now the Pope probably thought that I 
should not have ready money enough, or that for 
other reasons I might not deliver the whole sum so 
promptly, and he was desirous of binding me once 
more to his service. Therefore when he saw Pompeo 
coming to him smiling, with the money in his hand, 
he flung insults at him, and was much annoyed that 
the thing had turned out Hke this. So he said, " Go 
and find Benvenuto in his shop, and be as civil to 
him as an ignorant brute like you can be, and tell 


him that if he will only finish the work, for a reli- 
quary to carry the body of the Lord in when I go 
in procession, I will supply him with all that he 
needs — provided he works." So Pompeo came to 
me, called me out of the shop, paid me the most 
fatuous compliments, like the donkey he was, and 
gave me the Pope's message. I replied at once that 
the greatest treasure I could wish for in all the world 
was to have regained the favour of so great a Pope, 
which had strayed from me, yet not by my fault, 
but through my terrible infirmity and the wicked- 
ness of envious men who delight in making mischief. 
"But since his Holiness has an abundance of 
servants," I went on, " don't let him send you here 
again, if you value your safety. So ofF you go, and 
mind your own business. I shall never fail, night 
or day, by thought or deed, in the service of the 
Pope ; but keep this well in your mind — when you 
have delivered my message, never meddle again in 
any affairs of mine, or I'll let you discover your 
mistake through the chastisement it deserves." The 
man went and reported everything to the Pope, 
using, however, much more brutal words than I had 
spoken. So stayed the thing for a while, and I 
looked after my shop and my business. 

Ixiii. Tobbia, the goldsmith, was finishing the 
ornamentation of the unicorn's horn. And, besides, 
the Pope had told him to set to work on the chalice, 
using that design of mine which he had seen. But 
when he asked Tobbia to show him what he had 
done, he was so ill satisfied with it that he regretted 
sorely having broken with me, found fault with his 
other work as well, and was inclined to fall out with 
the men who had brought him to his notice. Several 
times there came to see me Baccino della Croce, 
on the part of the Pope, to urge me to make the 
reliquary. In reply I begged his Holiness to let me 
rest after the terrible illness I had had, from which 


I had not altogether recovered. But, I continued, I 
should prove to his Holiness that every hour when 
I was fit to work should be spent in his service. I 
had set myself to do his portrait, and was making a 
medal for him secretly, the steel dies for which I was 
fashioning at home. This I could the better do as 
I had a partner in my shop who had once been my 
apprentice, Felice by name. 

Now about this time I had fallen in love — as a 
young man will — with a young Sicilian girl who was 
very beautiful. And as she too gave signs of being 
very fond of me, her mother, becoming aware of it, 
grew anxious as to what might happen. And, in 
fact, I had made up my mind to run away to Florence 
for a year with this girl, without letting her mother 
know. But hearing of this, the woman left Rome 
secretly by night, and went in the direction of Naples. 
She said she was going to Civita Vecchia, but she 
really went to Ostia. I followed on their traces as 
far as Civita Vecchia, and committed a thousand 
follies in trying to find her. It would be too long to 
tell them all exactly ; enough to say that I was on 
the verge of going mad or dying. At the end of 
two months she wrote to me that she was in Sicily, 
and very ill pleased to be there. By that time I had 
been giving myself up to all the pleasures imaginable, 
and I had taken another love, buf only to extinguish 
this earlier flame. 

Ixiv. Through certain odd circumstances it came 
about that I gained the friendship of a Sicilian priest, 
a man of most*lofty mind, and with an excellent know- 
ledge of Latin and Greek. While we were convers- 
ing one day together, we chanced to talk of the art 
of necromancy, concerning which I said, "All my 
life long I have had the greatest desire to see and hear 
something of it." Whereupon the priest answered, 
" Strong and steady must be the mind of him who 
sets himself to such an enterprise." I replied that 


strength and steadiness of mind I should have and to 
spare, if only I had the means of testing these. Then 
answered the priest, "If you have but the courage 
for it, I'll give you your fill of the rest." So w^e 
agreed to put the thing in hand. One evening the 
priest began to make his preparations, and told me I 
was to find a companion or two, but not more. I 
called on my great friend Vincenzio Romoli, and he 
brought with him a Pistoja man, who was also given to 
necromancy. Together we set off for the Coliseum, 
and there, having dressed himself after the wont of 
magicians, the priest began to draw circles on the 
ground, with the finest rites and ceremonies you can 
imagine. Now he had bidden us bring precious per- 
fumes and fire, and evil smelling stuff as well. When 
all was ready, he made an entrance to the circle, and, 
talcing us by the hand, led us one by one within. 
Then he distributed the duties. The pentacle he 
gave into the hands of his companion magician ; we 
others were given the care of the fire for the per- 
fumes ; and he began his conjuring. This had lasted 
more than an hour and a half, when there appeared 
many legions of spirits, so that the CoHseum was full 
of them. I was attending to the precious incense, 
and when the priest perceived the great multitudes, 
he turned to me and said, " Benvenuto, ask of them 
something." I answered, "Let them transport me 
to my Sicilian Angelica." That night he got no 
reply at all, but my eager interest in the thing was 
satisfaction enough for me. The necromancer told 
us we must come back another time, when I should 
have the fulfilment of my desire. But he wished me 
to bring with me a young boy of perfect purity. 

So I brought a shop-boy of mine about twelve 
years old. Once more I sent for Vincenzio Romoli ; 
and as a certain Agnolino Gaddi was a close friend 
of both of us, we took him too on the business. 
When we had again reached the appointed place, the 



necromancer made the same preparation with even 
greater care, and led us into the circle, which he had 
made this time with still more wonderful skill and 
ceremonies. Then he gave to my friend Vincenzio 
the care of the perfumes and the fire, with Agnolino 
Gaddi to help him, put the pentacle into my hand, 
telling me to turn it in the directions he would 
indicate, while under the pentacle stood my Httle 
shop-boy. This done, the necromancer began to 
utter the most terrible invocations, and to call by 
their names many of the princes of the demoniac 
legions (speaking the while in Hebrew words, also 
in Greek and Latin), and commanding them, by the 
strength and power of God increate, living, and 
eternal ; so that in a brief space the whole Coliseum 
was full of them, and there were a hundred times 
more than there had been the first night. Mean- 
while Vincenzio Romoli, along with Agnolino, was 
attending to the fire and to the burning of the precious 
perfumes. Once more I asked, by advice of the 
magician, to be with my Angelica. Then he turned 
to me and said, " Do you hear what they say ? — that 
in a month's time you will be where she is." And 
again he entreated me to stand firm, for the legions 
were a thousand more than he had called ; and since 
they had agreed to what I had asked, we must speak 
soft to them, and gently bid them go. On the 
other side, the boy, who was under the pentacle, said, 
all trembling, that round us were a million of the 
most warlike men, and that they were threatening 
us. Moreover, said he, four huge giants had 
appeared. They were armed, and they made as if 
they would enter our circle. At this the necro- 
mancer, who was shaking with fright, tried with all 
the soft and gentle words he could think of to bid 
them go. Vincenzio Romoli, looking after the 
perfumes, was quivering like a reed. But I, who was 
just as much afraid, forced on myself a braver mien, 



and inspirited them in wonderful fashion, though, 
indeed, I nearly died when I saw the magician's 
fright. The boy, who had put his head between 
his knees, said, " I'll die in this way, since die we 
must." Then I said to the child, " These creatures 
are all lower than us, and what you see is only smoke 
and shade ; so lift your eyes." When he had done 
so he spoke once more, " The whole Coliseum is on 
iire, and the fire is upon us ; " and, putting his 
hand to his face, again he said he was dead, and he 
would not look any more. The necromancer 
entreated me to stand by him, also to make fumes of 
assafcetida. So, turning to Vincenzio Romoli, I told 
him to do this, and looked at Agnolino Gaddi the 
while, whose eyes were starting from his head with 
terror, and v/ho was more than half dead. " Agnolo," 
I said to him, " this is no time to shiver and shake. 
Up and make yourself useful ! Throw the assa- 
fcetida quickly on the fire." At the instant when 
he moved to do this, he yielded so powerfully to the 
needs of nature that it served better than the assafcetida. 
The boy lifted his head at this great stench and noise, 
and, hearing me laugh, his fear was calmed a little, 
and he told us the spirits were riding off tumultu- 
ously. So we remained till the chimes of day began 
to sound. Then again the boy spoke, saying that 
but few remained, and they were far off. The 
magician, having gone through the rest of his 
ceremonies, doffed his robes, gathered up a great load 
of books he had brought ; and we all came out of 
the circle together, sticking as close as possible to 
one another — especially the boy, who squeezed 
himself into the middle of us, and clutched the 
magician by the vest and me by the cloak. On our 
way towards our houses in the Banks, he told us 
that two of the demons he had seen in the Coliseum 
were going before us, now leaping, now running over 
the roofs, now along the ground. The wizard told 



us that in all the times he had entered the circles 
nothing so great had ever happened to him. And 
he tried to persuade me to help him in making 
incantations over a book. Out of this we should 
draw infinite riches ; for we should ask the demons 
to teach us where to find the treasures, of which the 
earth was full, and thus should become very rich. 
As for love and such-like things, he said they were 
vanity and folly, which profited nothing at all. I 
answered that if I were learned in Latin I would do 
so right willingly. But he persuaded me that Latin 
letters would in no wise serve me ; that, had he 
wished, he could have got many a one learned in 
Latin ; but that he had never found any man of so 
steadfast a mind, and that I should give heed to his 
counsel. Talking thus, we reached our homes, and 
all that night each of us dreamt of devils. 

Ixv. We used to see each other every other day, 
and the necromancer was most insistent I should 
take part in the enterprise. So I asked him how 
long it would take, and where we should have to go. 
He repHed that less than a month would see the end 
of it, and that the most fitting place was in the 
mountains of Norcia, although one of his masters 
had made his incantations near here, at a place called 
the Badia di Farfa. But he himself had experienced 
some difficulties there, which would not be met with 
in the mountains of Norcia. The Norcian country- 
folk, too, were trustworthy, he said, and had some 
practice in the art ; in a strait could even be of great 
service. This wizard-priest, of a truth, was so per- 
suasive that I was quite wilHng to join him in the 
thing ; but first, I said, I wished to finish the medals 
I was making for the Pope. I had told him, and no 
one else, about these, begging him to keep the secret. 
Yet I kept on asking him if he thought that at the 
stated time I should find myself with my SiciHan 
Angelica ; for now the day was drawing very near, 


it seemed to me strange I heard nothing of her. 
The wizard repHed that most certainly I should find 
her, for the spirits never failed in their word when 
they promised in the fashion they had done. But I 
was to watch open-eyed, and to be on the alert 
against a misfortune which might come upon me 
in this regard ; also I must steel myself to endure 
something that would go against the grain, for he 
saw in it a very great danger. Likewise, he said, it 
would be well for me to go away with him and make 
the incantations over the book ; for thus my great 
peril would pass, and I could gain fortune both for 
myself and for him. I was beginning to care a great 
deal more about it than he did himself. Neverthe- 
less, I told him that there had come to Rome a 
certain Maestro Giovanni of Castel Bolognese, a 
most skilful man in making medals of my kind in 
steel, and that I desired nothing better in the world 
than to compete with him, and shine out to the 
world in such an undertaking. So by my great 
talents, and not by the sword, did I hope to put my 
enemies to rout. Yet the necromancer still said, " I 
entreat you, Benvenuto mine, come with me, and 
flee a great danger I see threatening you." But I 
was resolved, in spite of everything, to finish my 
medal. Now already the end of the month was 
nearly on us ; yet so in love was I with my medal 
that I never gave a thought to Angelica or anything 
of the sort. My work was everything to me. 

Ixvi. One day, about the hour of vespers, I had 
occasion to go at an unusual hour to my shop in the 
Banks. I was living in a little house behind the 
Banks, and seldom went to my shop, leaving all my 
business to be done by my partner Felice. When I 
had been there a little time, I remembered I had to 
go and speak to Alessandro del Bene. So I set out, 
and in the Banks I met a great friend of mine called 
Ser Benedetto. He was a notary, and a native of 


Florence, the son of a blind Sienese beggar who used 
to say prayers in the streets for alms. Now this Ser 
Benedetto had lived at Naples for many many years, 
and afterwards had come to Rome, where he did 
business for certain Sienese merchants of the Chigi 
family. My partner had time after time asked him 
for money due for some rings which had been en- 
trusted to him. That very day FeHce had met him 
in the Banks, and asked for payment in a rough 
fashion, as was his wont, while Ser Benedetto was in 
the company of some of his patrons. They, taking 
notice of the thing, cried out on Ser Benedetto, 
saying they would employ some one else who had no 
barking dogs at his heels. As he went off with 
them he defended himself as best he could, swearing 
he had paid the goldsmith, and that he could not 
help a madman's fury. When the Sienese merchants 
took these words in bad part, and dismissed him 
summarily, he came like a shot to my shop, perhaps 
to have his spite out on Felice. But as it happened, 
right in the middle of the Banks we ran against each 
other, and I, who knew nothing of all this, greeted 
him with my usual poHteness. Rude words were 
my only answer. Then I called to mind all that the 
necromancer had told me, and, reining myself in as 
well as I could, as I had been told I must do, I said, 
" Ser Benedetto, my brother, do not be wroth with 
me who have done you no harm, and who know 
nothing of what has happened to you. If you have 
anything against Felice, for any sake go and have it 
out with him ; he must know best what to say to 
you. But as I am quite in the dark, you do wrong 
to snarl at me in this fashion, especially as you know 
that I am not a man to put up with insults." To 
which he answered that I did know all about it ; 
that he was a man who could make me bear the 
weight of it and more ; and that Felice and I were 
two great scoundrels. Already a great many people 



had gathered round to watch the quarrel. Stung by 
his ugly words, I bent down suddenly and picked up 
a handful of mud — for it had been raining — and, 
quick as lightning, aimed it at his face. But he 
ducked, so that he got it in the middle of his head. 
Now in this mud was a bit of hard rock with sharp 
corners, and one of these striking him, he fell sense- 
less to the ground, and all the bystanders, seeing the 
great flow of blood, made up their minds he was 
indeed dead. 

Ixvii. While he was lying there, and the people 
were preparing to carry him away, there passed by 
Pompeo, the jeweller, of whom you have heard before. 
The Pope had sent for him about some jewel busi- 
ness. Seeing the man in a bad way, he asked who 
had struck the blow, and he was answered, " Ben- 
venuto. But the fool has only himself to blame." 
Well, no sooner was Pompeo in the presence of 
the Pope than he cried out, "Most Holy Father, 
Benvenuto has this moment murdered Tobbia. I 
saw it with my own eyes " Whereupon the Pope 
in a fury ordered the governor, who was present, ta 
seize me and hang me at once in the place where I 
had committed the crime, commanding him to 
leave no stone unturned in his search for me, and 
never to show his face again until I was hanged. 

Now when I saw that unlucky man lying there, 
my mind ran to my own affairs. I thought of the 
power of my enemies, and all that might follow from 
this occurrence. So taking myself off, I withdrew 
to the house of Messer Giovanni Gaddi, clerk of the 
Camera, meaning to make speedy preparations for 
escape. But Messer Giovanni advised me not to be 
in such a hurry to go off, for it might be the evil 
was not so great as I thought j and he called Messer 
Annibal Caro, who lived with him, and bade him go 
and get information on the affair. Meanwhile there 
appeared a Roman nobleman of the household of the 


Cardinal de' Medici, and sent by him. Calling 
Messer Giovanni and me apart, he told us that the 
Cardinal had repeated to him the words he had heard 
the Pope say, and that as he had no means of helping 
me, I must do all I could to escape his first fury, and 
not trust myself in any house in Rome. As soon as 
the nobleman had gone, Messer Giovanni, looking in 
my face, made as if he would weep. " Ah me ! " he 
said, " Ah woe is me ! for I can do nothing at all to 
help you." But I answered, "God willing, I shall 
help myself. The only thing I ask is that you lend 
me one of your horses." A black Turkish horse 
was already saddled, the handsomest and the best in 
Rome. So I mounted, with an arquebuse in front of 
my saddle-bow ready loaded, and thus I was prepared 
for any attack. At the Sistine bridge I found the 
whole guard of the Bargello, horse and foot ; so 
making a virtue of necessity, I boldly spurred on my 
horse at a trot, and, thanks be to God, who dimmed 
their eyes, I passed over fres ; then with all speed 
possible I set off for Palombara, a place belonging to 
Lord Giovanbatista Savello. From here I sent back 
the horse, though I kept Messer Giovanni in the 
dark as to my whereabouts. Signor Giovanbatista 
housed me with great kindness for two days, and 
then advised me to depart and go towards Naples 
till the tempest should blow over ; and, giving me a 
companion, he put me on the Naples road. On the 
way I met in with a sculptor friend of mine, who 
was going to San Germano to finish the tomb of 
Pier de* Medici at Monte Cassino. This man, who 
was called Solosmeo, brought me news, how, the very 
evening of my flight. Pope Clement had sent one of 
his chamberlains to ask after Tobbia ; how they 
had found him at work, and that there was nothing 
the matter with him, nor did he even know anything 
of the affair. This being reported to the Pope, he 
turned to Pompeo and said, "You are a scoundrel, 


but I warn you that you have roused a serpent 
that will bite you, and it will be no more than 
you deserve." Then he ordered the Cardinal de' 
Medici to keep his eye on me, saying that for 
nothing in the world would he lose me. And then 
Solosmeo and I went on our road singing towards 
Monte Cassino, our plan being to go from there to 

Ixviii. As soon as Solosmeo had seen to his busi- 
ness at Monte Cassino we took the road again for 
Naples. We had come within half a mile of the 
city when an innkeeper met us and bade us come to 
his inn, telling us he had been in Florence many 
years with Carlo Ginori. If only we would put up 
at his place, he would do us every kindness, because 
we were Florentines. Several times we told him 
that we did not wish to go with him, but he now 
rode on before and now waited behind, repeating over 
and over again the same thing, that he wanted us to 
come home with him. This I found wearisome at 
last ; so I asked him if he knew the whereabouts of 
a certain Sicilian lady called Beatrice, who had a 
beautiful young daughter called Angelica. They 
were courtesans. The innkeeper, thinking I was 
jesting, said, " God confound courtesans and all who 
have dealings with them ! " And giving his horse a 
dig with his foot, he made as if to leave us for good. 
It seemed as if I had got fairly rid of the beast at last, 
though not without some loss to myself, for I called 
to mind the great love I bore to Angelica. While I 
was talking of her to Solosmeo, not without some 
amorous sighing, we saw mine host coming back in 
a furious hurry, and as soon as he came up to us he 
said, " Two or three days ago a lady and a young 
girl returned to a house near my inn. They bore 
those names, but I do not know if they are from 
Sicily or some other country." Then I answered, 
" Such power has the name of Angelica over me that 


I will certainly come home with you." So we went 
off with mine host to the city of Naples, and got 
down at his inn. Then it seemed to me a thousand 
years before I settled my things, which nevertheless 
I did with the utmost speed. In a house near the 
inn I found my Angelica, whose endearments to me 
were warmer than I can describe. It was then 
twenty-two of the clock, and I stayed with her till 
next morning, with an enjoyment the like of which 
I have never known. But while I was indulging in 
this pleasure, I remembered that exactly on that day 
the month was up, of which prophecy had been made 
by the demons in the wizard's circle. So let every 
man who deals with such beings ponder the incal- 
culable perils through which I passed. 

Ixix. Now I showed to the goldsmiths in Naples 
a diamond which happened to be in my purse. And 
here I should say, that though I was a young man, 
such repute had I even in those parts, that the 
heartiest reception was given me. Among the others 
who showed me kindness was a very good fellow, 
Messer Domenico Fontana by name. This worthy 
man left his shop for three whole days while I was in 
Naples, nor would he be parted from me. He was 
my guide to many of the splendid antiquities in the 
city and outside. He took me, besides, to pay my 
respects to the Viceroy of Naples, who had mani- 
fested a strong desire to see me. Presenting myself, 
I received a most honourable welcome from his 
Excellency, who, by the way, did not fail to catch 
sight of the diamond. He bade me show it to him, 
and said that if I were thinking of parting with it, I 
mustn't forget him. When I had it back again in 
my own hands I offered it anew to his Excellency, 
saying that both the diamond and I were at his 
service. He repHed that he valued the stone highly, 
but were I to stay with him he would rate that 
much higher, and would make such arrangements 


as should quite satisfy me. We exchanged many 
courteous words ; and, coming to the merits of the 
diamond, his Excellency asked me to state its price 
right out. Whereupon I said it was just two hun- 
dred crowns. He replied that this was reasonable, as 
it had been mounted by me, the first jewel-setter in 
the world -, but if the setting were done by any one 
else, it would not show the full brilliance of the stone. 
I told him, however, it had not been set by me , 
that the work, indeed, was not well done, and its fine 
effect was due to its own excellence. If I were to 
set it again, I should improve it enormously. Then 
applying my thumb nail to the sharp edges of the 
facets, I drew the stone from the ring, and, rubbing 
it up a little, I gave it into the Viceroy's hands. 
Much pleased and astonished, he gave me a bill for 
the two hundred crowns I had asked. 

Going back to my lodging, I found letters from 
the Cardinal de' Medici, wherein he bade me return 
to Rome with the utmost diligence, and get down at 
once at his most reverent lordship's house. When I 
read the letter to Angelica, she begged me most 
lovingly, and with tears, to stop in Naples, or else to 
take her with me. I answered that if she would 
come along with me, I would give into her keeping 
the two hundred ducats I had got from the Viceroy. 
Then her mother, seeing us converse secretly 
together, came up to us and said, " Benvenuto, if 
you are going to take my Angelica away to Rome, 
leave me fifteen ducats to pay for my lying-in, and 
after that I'll follow you." I told the wicked old 
woman that I'd give her thirty with a good will, if 
she would be pleased to give up her Angelica to me. 
And so the bargain was struck. Angelica begged 
me to buy her a gown of black velvet, which was 
very cheap in Naples. I did all they asked me 
willingly ; sent for the velvet, bargained for, and paid 
it ; but the old woman, who thought me fatuously 



in love, demanded a gown of fine cloth for herself, 
would have had me lay out a great deal on her sons, 
and begged for more money than I had offered her. 
At this I turned to her good-naturedly and said, 
" My dear Beatrice, didn't I offer you enough ? " 
" No," said she. So I replied that what was not 
enough for her would suffice for me, and having 
kissed my Angelica, we parted, she with tears, I with 
a laugh, and in haste I took the road for Rome. 

Ixx. It was night when I left Naples, with my 
money concealed on my person, for one may expect 
to be attacked and murdered in that country. When 
I reached Selciata, I had to defend myself with the 
greatest skill and strength of body against some horse- 
men who were bent on having my life. A few days 
after, I left Solosmeo at his work on Monte Cassino, 
and one morning I stopped to dine at an inn in 
Anagni. When I was nearing the inn, I shot at 
some birds with my arquebuse, and knocked down 
several ; but a splinter of iron from the lock of my 
gun tore my right hand. Though there was no great 
harm done, it seemed at first rather serious, because 
of the great amount of blood I lost. Entering the 
inn yard, I put my horse in the stable, and mounted 
to an upper floor, where I found a company of 
Neapolitan gentlemen, who were just sitting down 
to table. With them was a young gentlewoman, 
the loveliest creature I have ever seen. Now there 
followed me up the stairs my sturdy young serving- 
man with a huge halbert in his hand ; so that between 
this weapon and the blood on my person we struck 
such terror into the poor gentlemen — all the more as 
the place was a nest of cut-throats — that they got up 
from the table, trembling the while, and prayed God 
to come to their aid. On which I answered, laugh- 
ing, that God had indeed sent them aid, since I was 
the very man to defend them from whoever should 
molest them. Then I begged for some help in 


bandaging my hand, and the lovely lady took out a 
handkerchief richly worked in gold, and was about to 
tie up my wound with it. This I would not have ; 
but she tore it in half then and there, and with the 
utmost gentleness bound up my wound with her own 
hand. Then were the rest somewhat reassured, and 
we dined very merrily together. After dinner we 
mounted our horses and went off in company. But 
as their fear had not yet all vanished, the gentlemen 
shrewdly engaged me in conversation with the lady, 
while they remained somewhat behind. So I rode 
by her side on my pretty little horse, signing to my 
servant to keep at a distance. Thus we could talk 
together in confidence, and it was not about everyday 
matters, you may be sure. It was thus I made my 
way to Rome, and it was the pleasantest journey of 
all my remembrance. 

Reaching Rome, I dismounted at the palace of the 
Cardinal de' Medici. As his most reverend Excellency 
was at home, I got word with him, and thanked him 
exceedingly for calling me back. Then I begged 
his lordship to ensure my not being put in prison, 
and, if it were possible, against a fine. The Cardinal 
received me very gladly, and told me I was to fear 
nothing. Then turning to one of his gentlemen, a 
Sienese called Pierantonio Pecci, he bade him tell the 
Bargello from him to keep his hands off me, and 
asked him how it went with the man whose head 
I had wounded with a stone. Messer Pierantonio 
replied that he was very ill, and that he would be 
worse, for if he knew I had come back to Rome, he 
would do his best to die just to spite me. At this 
the Cardinal laughed heartily, and said, " He couldn't 
do better, if he wished to prove his Sienese birth." 
Then turning to me, he continued, " For our honour 
and your own, wait four or five days before appearing 
in the Banks. After that ffo where you like, and 
let fools die if thcv want to. ' So off I went to my 



house, and set myself to finish the medal I had already 
begun, with Pope Clement's head on one side, and a 
figure of peace on the reverse. Peace was represented 
by a slender female figure, clothed in thinnest raiment, 
and girdled, with a torch in her hand, which was 
kindling a heap of weapons bound together like a 
trophy. You could see Hkewise part of a temple, 
in which was Fury bound by many chains. Round 
about was the device Clauduntur belli portae. While 
I was finishing this medal, the man I had struck 
recovered, and the Pope never stopped asking for me. 
But meanwhile I refused to go and see the Cardinal 
de' Medici ; for every time I went, his lordship gave 
me something important to do for him, so that my 
work on the medal was hindered. But Messer Pier 
Carnesecchi, a great favourite of his Holiness, under- 
took to keep his eye on me, and from time to time 
insinuated how much the Pope desired me to work 
for him again. I replied that in a few days I 
would prove to his Holiness that I had never left 
his service. 

Ixxi. A few days after, having finished my medal, 
I stamped it in gold, in silver, and in brass. When 
I had let Messer Pietro see it, he brought me at once 
to the Pope. It was after dinner time on a lovely 
April day, and his Holiness was in the Belvedere. 
When I came into his presence, I gave the medals 
with the steel dies into his hands. He took them, 
and saw at a glance the magnificent art they dis- 
played ; then looking Messer Piero in the face, he 
said, "The ancients were never so well served with 
medals." While he and the others were examining, 
now the dies, now the medals, I began to speak 
modestly as follows : " If a Higher Power had not 
ruled over my unlucky stars, preventing that violence 
with which they threatened me, your Holiness had 
lost, without fault on his side or mine, a faithful and 
loving servant. And so I hold, most holy Father, 



that one cannot go wrong in cases where all is staked 
upon a single throw, if, after the saying of poor 
simple men, we count seven before we cut one. The 
slanderous lying tongue of my worst enemy so easily 
stirred your Holiness's wrath, that, in a great fury,. 
ou ordered the governor to hang me there and then, 
et later, when you had seen the great injustice of 
such a punishment — which would have done you a 
great wrong by depriving you of such a servant as 
your Holiness owns me to be — I verily believe that, 
in face of God and the world, you would have felt 
no little remorse. Thus good and virtuous fathers, 
and masters too, should not let fall their arm so rashly 
on their sons and servants ; for afterwards remorse 
will be of no use at all. Now since God has hindered 
the malign course of the stars, and saved me for your 
Holiness, I entreat that next time your wrath be not 
so quickly roused against me." 

The Pope had stopped looking at the medals, and 
was listening to me with great attention ; and as in 
the presence were many lords of high degree, he red- 
dened somewhat, and looked as if he were ashamed ; 
but not knowing how to get out of the coil any 
other way, he said he did not recollect ever having 
given such an order. Perceiving his embarrassment, 
I spoke of other things till he had regained his usual 
confidence. Then his Holiness began to discuss the 
medals, and asked me how I had managed to stamp 
them so admirably, considering their size, for he had 
never seen antique medals so large. About this we 
talked for a bit, and then, afraid I might read him 
another lecture worse than the last, he told me the 
medals were most beautiful, that he was much pleased 
with them, but that he should like to have another 
reverse according to his own fancy, if it were possible 
for a medal to have alternative reverses. I said vcs. 
Then his Holiness ordered from me the stor}^ of 
Moses when he struck the rock and the water came 



out, along with these words, Ut bibat populus. And 
he added, " Go now, Benvenuto, and before you have 
finished it, I shall have made provision for you." As 
soon as I was gone, the Pope declared before them 
all that he would endow me, so that I could live in 
riches without ever working for any one else. And 
I went home and gave all my mind to the execution 
of the reverse with the Moses design. 

Ixxii. But now the Pope took ill, and the doctors 
judged him to be in danger. Then my enemy, who 
was afraid of me, bribed some Neapolitan soldiers to 
do to me what he feared I might do to him. So I 
found it no easy matter to defend my poor life. Yet 
I persevered, and completed the reverse. When I 
took it to the Pope, I found him in bed in a very 
serious condition. Nevertheless he received me most 
affectionately, and wished to see the medal and the 
dies. He had his spectacles and candles brought 
him, but could see nothing at all. Then he began 
to feel them all over with his fingers, and having 
done this for some little time, he heaved a great sigh, 
and said to those who were standing near that he had 
me much on his mind ; but if God gave him back 
his health, he would put everything to rights. Three 
days after the Pope died, and I found that all my 
pains had been for nothing. Yet I was of good 
courage, telling myself that through these medals I 
had become so well known that I should be employed 
by any Pope, and perhaps with greater profit than 
heretofore. So did I put heart into myself, and 
thrust behind me altogether the gross insults which 
Pompeo had cast on me. Then, in my armour and 
with my sword at my side, I set off to St. Peter's, 
and kissed the dead Pope's feet, not without tears. 

Afterwards I came back to the Banks, to watch 

the great confusion which reigns at such a time. 

While I was sitting there with many friends around 

me, up came Pompeo with ten men about him, all 



fully armed. When he was just opposite, he stopped 
as if to pick a quarrel with me. The brave and 
adventurous young spirits who were with me, signed 
to me to draw on him. But then quick came the 
thought, that if I drew, there might follow some 
dreadful consequence to those who had nothing to 
do with the thing at all. So I judged it better that 
I alone should put my life to the hazard. You could 
barely have said two Ave Marias before Pompeo, 
with a sneering laugh in my direction, made off 
again. His men, too, laughed, and there were many 
tossings of heads and other insulting gestures. My 
comrades would have begun the fight there and then, 
but I told them hotly that I was man enough to 
fight my own battles, that I needed no greater 
champion than myself, and that they were to mind 
their own business. This angered my friends, and, 
grumbling, they left me. Among them was my 
dearest comrade, Albertaccio del Bene, own brother 
to Alessandro and Albizzo, and to-day a very rich 
man in Lyons. This Albertaccio was the most 
splendid young fellow I have ever known, and the 
most courageous ; he loved me as himself. Now he 
knew well that my patience was not for poor- 
spiritedness, but that it meant the most reckless 
bravery — for he had a perfect understanding of me — 
and taking up my words, he begged me to do him the 
favour of calling on him in any business I had a 
mind for. To which I answered, " Albertaccio 
mine, dear above all the others, be sure a time will 
come when you can help me ; but in this affair, if 
you love me, give no heed to me ; go about your own 
business, and be off speedily like the rest, for there is 
no time to be lost." In my haste I could say no 

Ixxiii. Meanwhile my enemies of the Banks had 
gone off slowly towards the place called the Chiavica, 
and had reached a point where cross roads meet. 
F 149 


But the street where my enemy Pompeo's house 
stood was that which goes straight to the Campo di 
Fiore. Now being in need of something, he had gone 
into the apothecary's at the corner of the Chiavica, 
and had stopped there awhile on his business. It 
had come to my ears that he had been bragging of 
his having braved me — for so he thought he had 
done ; but in any case, it was the worse for him. 
For just when I had reached the corner, he came out 
of the apothecary's ; his bravos made place for him, 
and closed about him. But with a little keen-edged 
dagger I forced their ranks, and had my hands upon 
his breast so quickly, and with such coolness, that 
not one of them could hinder me. I was aiming at 
his face, but in his terror he turned his head, so that 
I plunged the poniard in just below the ear. It only 
needed two strokes, for at the second he fell dead, 
which had not been at all my intention. But, as the 
saying is, there's no bargaining about blows. With 
my left hand I drew out the dagger, and in the right 
I took my sword for the defence of my life. But all 
his bravos ran to the dead body, and made no show 
of attacking me. So I withdrew by myself through 
the Strada GiuHa, thinking where I could best hide. 
I had gone about three hundred paces when I was 
joined by Piloto the goldsmith, a very good friend 
of mine. " Brother," said he, " now that the ill is 
done, let's think of your safety." To which I 
answered, " Let's go to Albertaccio del Bene's house, 
for only a little ago I told him the time would soon 
come when I should have need of him." So we 
reached Albertaccio's house, and we embraced with 
boundless affection ; and very soon there appeared 
the best of the young men about the Banks, of every 
nation save the Milanese ; and each one of them 
offered his life to save mine. Messer Luigi Rucellai, 
too, sent with exquisite courtesy to say that what he 
had was at my service, as did many other substantial 


men of his condition ; and there was not one of 
them but called down blessings on my hands 3 for 
they held my enemy had insulted me deeply, and it 
was a wonder I could have borne with him so long. 

Ixxiv. Meanwhile Cardinal Cornaro heard of the 
affair, and of his own accord sent thirty soldiers, with 
as many halberds, pikes, and arquebuses, to bring me 
with all due honour to his place. I accepted the 
offer and went off with them, while a still larger 
number of the young fellows swelled my guard. 
But by this time Messer Traiano, the dead man*s 
relative, and chief chamberlain to the Pope, sent to 
the Cardinal de' Medici a great Milanese nobleman, 
who informed him of the grave crime I had com- 
mitted, and protested his lordship was bound to 
punish me. The Cardinal retorted, " Great wrong 
would he, indeed, have done, leaving this lesser 
wrong undone ! Thank Messer Traiano from me 
for his having told me what I did not know." Then 
suddenly turning, in the presence of the nobleman, 
to the Bishop of Forli, a gentleman of his court and 
his familiar friend, he said, " Search diligently for 
my Benvenuto, and bring him to me, for I have a 
good will to help and defend him. And who harms 
him, harms me." Thereupon the nobleman flushed 
angrily and took his leave ; and the Bishop of Forli 
came to seek me at Cardinal Cornaro's. Having 
found my host, he told him how the Cardinal de' 
Medici had sent for Benvenuto, and wished to be his 
protector. Now Cornaro, who was as irritable as a 
bear, answered the bishop hotly, telling him that he 
was just as well able to protect me as the Cardinal dc' 
Medici. Whereupon the bishop asked as a favour to 
speak to me a word, outside this affair, on the Cardinal's 
business ; but Cornaro told him that for that day he 
might pretend he had talked with me. The Cardinal 
de' Medici was highly indignant ; but next night, 
with a good escort, I paid him a visit, unknown to 



my host. Then I begged him of his kindness to let 
me stay in Cornaro's house, telling him how kindly 
he had treated me. If only his most reverend lord- 
ship would permit this, I should have one more 
friend in my hour of need. For the rest, his 
lordship might dispose of me as he pleased. He 
replied that I was to do as I Hked ; and I returned 
to Cornaro's house. A few days later Cardinal 
Fames e was made Pope. 

When he had put his greater affairs in order, the 
new Pope called for me, and let me know he wished 
no one but me to make his money. Whereupon one 
of his most intimate friends. Latino Juvinale by 
name, spoke to his Holiness, and said I was in hiding 
for a homicide committed on the person of one 
Pompeo, a Milanese ; and then he added all that could 
be said in my favour. To which the Pope replied, 
" I did not know of Pompeo's death ; but well I 
know of Benvenuto's excuse. So make out a safe- 
conduct for him, that he may rest perfectly secure." 
Now there stood by a great friend of Pompeo, a man 
very intimate with the Pope, Messer Ambrogio of 
Milan, and he spoke thus, " In the first days of your 
reign it is not wise to grant favours of this sort."" 
But his Holiness replied, " I know better about such 
things than you. Learn that men like Benvenuto, 
unique in their profession, are not subject to the laws. 
And especially is this the case with him, for I know 
how greatly he has been provoked." So my safe- 
conduct was made out, and without delay I began 
to work in the Pope's service, with the utmost 
favour from him. 

Ixxv. One day Messer Latino Juvinale came to 
see me, and gave me the commission to make the 
Pope's money. This stirred up the wrath of my 
enemies, who began to put all sorts of hindrances in 
my way. Whereupon his Holiness, aware of their 
evil intentions, rebuked them all, and determined 


that I should do the work. So I began to make the 
dies for the crowns. In the middle I put Saint Paul, 
with the legend, Fas electionis. This coin gave 
much more satisfaction than did those of my rivals, 
so that the Pope told them nobody was to mention 
money to him again ; for he had made up his mind I 
was to make his, and nobody else. So I set about the 
work with an easy mind ; and Messer Latino Juvinale 
used to procure me audiences of the Pope, for his 
Holiness had given him orders to that effect. I was 
most eager to be reappointed stamper to the Mint ; 
but on this point the Pope took counsel of others, 
and then told me that first of all I must receive 
pardon for the homicide. This I should have at the 
Holy Maries in August, by order of the aldermen of 
Rome. For it is the custom each year, on this solemn 
feast, to free twelve outlaws to these magistrates. In 
the meanwhile he would grant me another safe- 
conduct, so that I might rest secure till that time. 

Then my enemies, seeing they could in no way 
prevent me having the Mint, bethought themselves 
of another expedient. The dead man Pompeo had 
left three thousand ducats as a dowry to a young bas- 
tard daughter of his. So they plotted that a favourite 
of Signor Pier Luigi, the Pope's son, should ask her 
in marriage, this lord himself to be the mediator. 
The thing was done. But the favourite \yas a 
wretched little peasant, brought up by Signor Pier 
Luigi ; and, according to rumour, he touched little 
of the money, his lord seizing it for his own use. 
Well, several times the husband of this girl, to please 
his wife, asked his patron to have me arrested ; and 
my lord had given a promise this should be done as 
soon as he saw my favour waning with the Pope. 
So things remained for about two months. The 
servant was trying all the time to get hold of the 
dowry, while his master would give him no straight 
answer, but kept assuring the wife he would certainly 



revenge her father. Though I knew something of 
what was going on, I presented myself several times 
before his lordship, who made a show of great 
benevolence to me. Yet all the time he was plotting 
either to have me murdered, or arrested by the 
Bargello. He had given the job into the hands of 
one of his men, a little devil of a Corsican soldier, 
ordering him to use all his wits in the business ; and 
some other enemies of mine, especially Messer 
Traiano, proposed to give a hundred crowns to the 
assassin, who said he would do the thing as easily as 
he would suck a new-laid egg. Aware of all this, I 
walked with wary eyes, and in good company, excel- 
lently protected with under-coat of mail and with 
armlets, for which I had got leave. The little 
Corsican, in his avarice, thought he would have all 
the money for himself, without peril, fancying he 
could carry the thing through with no one to help 
him. So one day after dinner he sent for me in 
Signor Pier Luigi's name. I went at once, for my 
lord had spoken of having some large silver vessels 
made. I left home in a hurry, but armed myself as 
usual, and walked quickly along the Strada Giulia, 
thinking to find no one about at that hour. Well, 
I was at the top of the street, and was making for 
the Farnese palace, when, turning the corner wide, as 
is my habit, I saw the little Corsican get up from 
where he was sitting, and post himself in the middle 
of the road. Thus I was in no way taken by sur- 
prise. Ready to defend myself, I slowed up a little, 
and walked closer to the wall to put a wider space 
between us. But he followed my example ; and 
when we were near each other, I could see plainly he 
was bent on doing me a mischief. And as I was 
alone, he thought he was going to succeed. Then I 
addressed him, saying, "Valorous soldier, if it were 
night, you might say you had mistaken me, but since 
it is day, you must know quite well who I am, and 



that I have never had anything to do u^ith you, and 
never have done you any harm, but am quite capable 
of doing you a service." Thereupon, v^ith a bully- 
ing gesture, and still standing in my path, he said he 
did not know vi^hat I was talking about. I replied, 
" I know very well what you want, and what you 
are saying ; but this business you have in hand is 
more difficult and dangerous than you think ; and 
perhaps it may turn out to your hurt. Remember 
you have to do with a man who would defend him- 
self against a hundred ; and the affair is not one for 
brave men like you to be concerned in." Mean- 
while I, too, had been looking at him threateningly, 
and both of us changed colour. People had collected 
about us, for it was clear that our words meant 
bloodshed. So not daring to lay a hand on me, he 
cried, "We shall meet again." To which I answered, 
" I am always glad to see men of worth and those 
who prove themselves such." 

Leaving him I repaired to my lord's house, to find 
he had never sent for me. When I was back in my 
shop, the Corsican sent me word by a great friend of 
his and mine, that I need not be on the watch for 
him any more, for he was fain to be my good 
brother ; but that I should keep a sharp look-out for 
others ; that I was in the greatest peril, men of high 
rank having vowed my death. I sent him my 
thanks, and looked after my safety as well as I could. 
Not many days after, I was told by a great friend of 
mine that Signor Pier Luigi had expressly ordered I 
should be seized that evening. Word of this reached 
me in the late afternoon. I spoke of the matter to 
some of my friends, who urged me to escape. The 
order had been given for one hour after sundown ; 
and two hours before that I was off with the post 
bound for Florence. The fact was, that when the 
Corsican had proved he had not pluck enough to 
fulfil his promise, Signor Pier Luigi, of his own 


authority, had given orders for me to be arrested, 
only to appease that daughter of Pompeo somewhat, 
who insisted on knowing what had come of her 
dowry. When he found it impossible to satisfy her 
by revenging her father in either of the two ways he 
had planned, he bethought him of another, which 
shall be told in its own place. 

Ixxvi. Reaching Florence, I presented myself to 
the Duke Alessandro, who received me with the 
greatest affection, and insisted I should stay with 
him. Now in Florence there was a sculptor called 
II TriboHno, a great crony of mine, for I was god- 
father to one of his sons. As we were talking 
together one day, he told me that Jacopo del San- 
sovino, who had been his master, had sent for him. 
Now as he had never been to Venice, and as he 
thought, besides, of the earnings to be looked for, he 
was most keen to go. Then he asked me if I had 
ever seen Venice, and I said no. Thereupon he 
begged me to accompany him, and I consented. So 
I told Duke Alessandro I should like to go to Venice 
first ; and after that I should come back to his service. 
He demanded a promise from me to this effect, and 
ordered me to come to see him before I left. So 
next day, after having made my preparations, I went 
to take leave of the Duke, whom I found in the 
Pazzi palace, which at the time was inhabited by the 
wife and daughters of Signor Lorenzo Cibo. I sent 
a message to his Excellency that I wished to set off 
to Venice, by his kind permission ; and an answer 
was brought back by Signor Cosimino de' Medici, 
to-day Duke of Florence, to the effect that I was to 
go and find Niccolo da Monte Aguto, who would 
give me fifty gold crowns ; and that his Excellency 
gave me this money for my enjoyment, because he 
loved me. Afterwards I was to come back and serve 

I got the money from Niccolo ; went to fetch 




Tribolino at his house, and found him ready to start. 
He asked me if I had bound up my sword. I said a 
man riding forth on a journey should do no such 
thing ; but he told me that such was the custom in 
Florence ; and that there was a certain Ser Maurizio 
in power, who for the veriest trifle would have strung 
up St. John the Baptist himself. So you had to 
carry your sword bound till you were outside the 
gates. At this I laughed, and away we went. Soon 
we were joined by the Venice courier, who was nick- 
named Lamentone ; and we travelled in his company 
past Bologna, and arrived one evening at Ferrara. 
There we put up at the inn on the Piazza, and 
Lamentone went off to seek out some exiles, to bring 
them letters and messages from their wives, and this 
with the consent of the Duke. But only the courier 
might speak to them — no one else, under pain of the 
same sentence. Meanwhile, it being a little less 
than two hours from sundown, Tribolo and I went 
to see the Duke of Ferrara return from Belfiore, 
where he had been to watch the jousting. On the 
road we met a number of exiles, who looked at us 
hard, as though they would force us to speak with 
them. Tribolo, who was the biggest coward I have 
ever known, never stopped saying, " Don't look at 
them ; don't speak to them, if you would ever go 
back to Florence." So we stayed to see the Duke's 
entry ; then returning to our inn, we found Lamen- 
tone. About an hour after dark Niccolo Benintendi 
came in with his brother Piero, and an old man, 
who, I think, was Jacopo Nardi. With these were 
some other young men. They stormed the courier 
with questions about their own folk in Florence. 
Tribolo and I stood apart, so as not to talk with 
them. When they had spoken awhile with Lamen- 
tone, Niccolo Benintendi said, "I know those two 
quite well. Why are they too proud to speak to 
us ? " Then Tribolo bade me keep quiet, while 
F* I^y 


Lamentone told them that the leave he had was not 
granted to us, which Benintendi said was ridiculous. 
" Plague take them ! " cried he, with other pretty 
things of the kind. Thereupon I raised my head, 
and, with all the meekness I was capable of, addressed 
them thus, "Dear gentlemen, you can harm us a 
great deal, while we can in no way help you ; and 
though you have said some things to us that had 
been better unsaid, yet we will not be wroth against 
you for that." Old Nardi declared I had spoken 
like the honest young fellow I was ; but Niccolo 
Benintendi struck in with, " A fig for them and the 
Duke ! " I answered that he was wronging us, for 
we had nothing to do with his affairs. Then old 
Nardi took up the cudgels for us, telling Benintendi 
he was unjust ; but he went on insulting us all the 
same. So I warned him that I would say and do 
what would be most unpleasant to him, unless he 
minded his own business and left us in peace. But 
again he cried, " A fig for the Duke and you ! " and 
told us we were a pack of asses. At these words I 
hurled back the lie in his face, and drew my sword. 
Then the old man, in his haste to be first at the 
stairs, tumbled down some steps, and the rest fell 
after him, one on the top of the other. I rushed 
forward, rattling my sword furiously along the wall, 
and shouting, " I will kill the last man of you ! " 
But all the same I took the utmost care to do them 
no harm, though it would have been only too easy. 
Hearing the noise, the host called out ; and Lamen- 
tone cried, " Keep back ! " Some of them shouted, 
" Oh, my head ! " others, " Let me out of this ! " 
and so great was the confusion that they looked like 
a herd of swine. Then mine host brought a Hght. 
I retired upstairs, and sheathed my sword. Lamen- 
tone protested to Niccolo Benintendi he had done 
ill ; and the host said to him, " It's a hanging matter 
to draw your sword here ; and if the Duke knew of 



your insolence, he would string you up. I will let 
you off with less than you deserve ; but never show 
your face in this inn again, else you'll repent it." 
Then the host came upstairs to me. I would have 
excused myself ; but he did not let me say a word, 
telling me he knew I had had a thousand provoca- 
tions, and advising me to be on the look-out for these 
men on my journey. 

Ixxvii. When we had supped, a boatman came to 
take us to Venice. I asked him if he would give us 
the boat to ourselves. He said yes, and the bargain 
was struck. In the morning betimes we rode to the 
port, which is some miles, I don't know how many, 
from Ferrara. As soon as we had got there, we 
found Niccolo Benintendi's brother, with three others, 
waiting my arrival. Among them they had two 
lances, and I had bought a good pike in Ferrara. 
Being otherwise well armed, I was not at all scared 
like Tribolo, who called out, " God save us ! They 
have come to murder us ! " Then Lamentone turned 
to me and said, " The best thing you can do is to go 
back to Ferrara, for I see this is a serious business. 
Benvenuto, my friend, I beg you, get out of the way 
of the fury of those mad beasts ! " But I rejoined, 
" Rather let us go forward, for God helps the right, 
and you shall see how I can help myself. Have we 
not secured this bark for ourselves?" "Yes," said 
Lamentone. "Well, we shall hold it against them, 
for all my valour is worth." I spurred on my horse, 
and when I was about fifty paces off, strode boldly- 
forward .with my pike. Tribolo lingered behind, 
hunched up on his horse, as if he had been frozen ; 
and the courier Lamentone was puffing and blowing 
like the wind. It was a habit of his ; but now he 
did it more than ever, as he stood waiting what 
would be the end of this devilry. When I had 
reached the boat, the boatman came up to me and 
said that some Florentine gentlemen wished to share 



it, if I would permit. To which I answered, " The 
boat is engaged for us and for no one else ; and I am 
deeply grieved not to have the pleasure of their com- 
pany." At these words a brave young fellow, one 
of the Magalotti, spoke up, " Benvenuto, we shall 
manage to procure you that pleasure." Whereupon 
I answered, " If God and the right which is on my 
side, as well as the force within me, manifest their 
full will and power, you shall manage nothing of the 
sort." And saying this, I jumped into the boat. 
Pointing my pike at them, I added, "With this I 
will show you that I am unable to avail myself of 
your company." Wishing to make a little show of 
fight, the Magalotti youth seized his weapon and 
came towards me. But I sprang upon the boat, and 
dealt him such a blow that, had he not fallen back- 
wards, I should have run him through. His friends, 
instead of coming to his aid, drew back. I saw I 
could have slain him, but instead of doing so, I said, 
"Get up, brother, take your weapons, and be off. 
You have seen that what I will not that I cannot, 
and what I could that I would not." Then I called 
in Tribolo and the boatman and Lamentone ; and so 
we set off on our way to Venice. When we had 
gone ten miles along the Po, the young fellows, who 
had got into a little bark, came up with us, and when 
we were abreast of each other, that fool Pier Benin- 
tendi shouted, "Go on your way, Benvenuto, we 
shall meet again in Venice." "Make haste then," I 
said, "for 1*11 be there, and Pm ready to face any 
of you." So we arrived at Venice. There I took 
counsel with a brother of Cardinal Cornaro, and 
begged him to get me the permission to wear arms. 
He told me that I might certainly do so, for I ran 
no greater risk than of losing my sword. 

Ixxviii. So with my sword by my side, we went 
off to visit Jacopo del Sansovino, who had sent for 
Tribolo. He received us very kindly, and would 
1 60 


have us dine with him, and so we stayed. But in 
his conversation with Tribolo, he said he had nothing 
for him to do just then, and bade him come back 
another time. At this I burst out laughing, and 
said jestingly to Sansovino, " Your home is rather too 
far away for him to come back again." And poor 
Tribolo, all woe-begone, cried, " I have your letter 
here, in which you wrote to me to come.** But 
Sansovino answered that men of his standing — men 
of repute and talent — could do a thing like that, 
and more too. Whereupon Tribolo shrugged his 
shoulders, and muttered " Patience ! " over and over 
again. Then, in spite of the good dinner which 
Sansovino had given me, I took the part of my friend 
Tribolo, who had right on his side. But at table 
Sansovino never stopped chattering about the great 
things he had done, speaking ill of Michel Agnolo 
and of all who practised his art, and praising himself 
to the skies the while. I got so irritated that each 
mouthful of food nearly choked me. But all I said 
was, " O Messer Jacopo, men of worth behave like 
men of worth, and men of talent, who create things 
of beauty and excellence, are more easily recognised 
in the praises of others than in their own complacent 
boasting." At these words we all rose from the 
table fuming. That same day, near the Rialto of 
Venice, I came across Piero Benintendi, who had 
some others with him. Well aware that they were 
seeking to do me a mischief, I retired into an 
apothecary's shop till their excitement should pass. 
Afterwards I heard that young Magalotti, to whom 
I had spoken civilly, had cried out upon them ; and 
so the thing passed off. 

Ixxix. A few days after we made our way back to 
Florence. When we disembarked at a place beyond 
Chioggia, on the left hand going to Ferrara, our host 
would have us pay, according to his custom, before 
we went to sleep. I said in other places one paid in 


the morning, but he declared, " I wish to be paid the 
night before, and in my own way." Whereupon I 
repHed that those who wanted things done in their 
own way should make a world for themselves ; and 
his customs were not ours ; but he bade me not weary 
him with talking, because he had made up his mind 
to have his own way. Tribolo, who was shaking 
with fright, nudged me to keep still, lest we should 
come off worse. So we paid the people in their way, 
and then went off to sleep. We had indeed excellent 
beds, everything in them new and scrupulously clean. 
Yet all the same I never closed an eye all night for 
thinking how I could have my revenge. Once I 
thought of setting fire to the house ^ again of cutting 
the throats of the four fine horses he had in his 
stables. I saw how easy it would be for me to do 
either, but I did not quite see how my companion 
and I should escape. I finally made up my mind. 
First, I resolved to put my own baggage and my 
friend's in the boat ; and this I did. Then, when the 
horses were attached to the towing-rope, I said no 
one was to move till I came back, as I had left a pair 
of slippers in the room where I had slept. So I went 
back to the inn and asked for the host, who called 
out that he had nothing to do with us, and that we 
could go to the devil. Standing by was a miserable 
little bit of a stable boy, gaping with sleep, who said 
to me, " He wouldn't move for the Pope, for he has 
a slut with him whom he has been after for a long 
time." Then the boy asked me for some drink- 
money, and I gave him a few little Venetian coins, and 
told him to go and talk to the man with the towing- 
rope till I looked for my slippers and came back. So 
upstairs I went. I took a little razor-edged knife, 
and cut the four beds that were there all into shreds j 
and I knew I had done damage to the tune of more 
than fifty crowns. Then I returned to the bark 
-with bits of the bed-hangings in my pocket. Hastily 


I ordered the boatman to be ofF and away j but when 
we had gone a little distance from the inn, my crony 
Tribolo said he had left some little straps which 
bound up Ijis vaHse, and that he really must return 
for them. To this I repHed he need not mind 
about two little straps, for I would make him as many 
big ones as he wanted. He said that I was always 
jesting, but that he absolutely must go back for them. 
He insisted the boatman should stop, and I that he 
should go on. Meanwhile I told him the bad turn 
I had done to the host, and showed him a sample of 
the bed-hangings and other things, at which such a 
fear came over him that he kept calling to the boat- 
man, "On, on with you quickly ! " And he did not 
feel out of danger till he was back at the gates of 
Florence. When we had reached there, Tribolo 
said, " Let us bind up our swords, for God's sake ! 
And no more pranks, for I have felt all the time I 
have been with you as if the knife were at my throat." 
On which I said, " Dear old Tribolo, you don't need 
to bind your sword up, for you have never drawn it." 
And this I said without looking, only because I had 
never once seen him play the man upon the journey. 
Whereupon, examining his sword, he cried out, " By 
God ! it is the truth you tell, for here it is tied up 
just as it was before I left home ! " To my comrade 
I had seemed a bad companion for having resented 
insults, and defended us both against those who would 
have harmed us. But I thought his conduct much 
worse, since not once did he come to my aid in 
times of need. Let him be the judge who looks on 

Ixxx. As soon as I dismounted I made haste to 
seek Duke Alessandro. I thanked him heartily for 
his present of fifty crowns, and told his Excellency I 
was most ready to serve him in whatever I was good 
for. Thereupon he ordered me on the spot to make 
the dies for his money. The first coin I made was 



one of forty soldi, with the head of his Excellency 
on one side, and on the other a San Cosimo and a 
San Damiano. These were silver coins, and they 
gave so much satisfaction that the Duke maintained 
they were the finest pieces in all Christendom. So 
said all Florence, and everybody who saw them. I 
therefore asked his Excellency to settle a salary on 
me, and give me apartments in the Mint. There- 
upon he told me to give my mind to serving him, 
and he would allow me much more than I asked. 
Meanwhile he said he had given orders to the Master 
of the Mint, who was a certain Carlo Acciaiuoli, 
that I was to go to him for all the money I wanted. 
And this I found to be the case. But I touched my 
money so thriftily that there was always a balance, 
according to my account. 

Afterwards I made the dies for the giulio. On 
this coin was a San Giovanni in profile, seated, with 
a book in his hand ; and I thought I had never done 
anything so fine. On the other side were Duke 
Alessandro's arms. After that I made the dies for 
the half-giulios, on which I designed a head, full face, 
of San Giovannino. This was the first coin ever 
made with a full fece on so thin a plate of silver. 
But the difficulty of the thing is not at all apparent 
except to the eyes of skilled masters in the art. 
Then I made stamps for the gold crowns. On one 
side was a cross, with some little cherubs, and on 
the other the arms of his Excellency. As soon as 
I had made those four sorts of money, I begged 
him to settle my salary, and also to grant me the 
apartments I had asked for, if he was pleased with 
what I had done. His Excellency, with much 
graciousness, said he was entirely satisfied, and that 
he would give due orders. We were in the Ward- 
robe during this conversation, my lord examin- 
ing a wonderful little gun which he had just got 
from Germany. Seeing me look at the pretty tool 


with the utmost attention, he put it into my hand, 
saying he knew what delight such things gave me ; 
and as an earnest of what he had promised me, I 
might take any arquebuse from his armoury I hked, 
save this one, though, he added, there were many 
more beautiful and just as good in the place. This 
offer I accepted with thanks. Seeing my eyes 
wandering round in search, he ordered his Master 
of the Wardrobe, a certain Pretino of Lucca, to let 
me take whatever I pleased. Then with a pleasant 
salutation he went off, and I stayed to choose the 
most beautiful and the best arquebuse that I ever 
had in my life ; and I took it home with me. Two 
days later I showed him a few drawings, which he 
had asked me to make for some works in gold, in- 
tended as a gift to his wife, who was then in Naples. 
Once more I made the same request about the settle- 
ment of my affairs. But his Excellency replied 
that first of all he wished me to make a die for 
as fine a head of himself as I had made of Pope 
Clement. So I began this head in wax, and my lord 
ordered that at whatever hour I came to work on 
his portrait, I should be shown into him. Seeing 
that this was to be a long affair, I called in a certain 
Pietro Pagolo of Monte Ritondo, near Rome, who 
had been with me as a very young boy there. I 
found him living with one Bernardonaccio, a gold- 
smith, who did not treat him very well. So I 
took him away, and taught him thoroughly how to 
stamp the money from the dies I had made. In the 
meanwhile I was engaged on the Duke*s portrait. 
And many a time did I find him snoozing after 
dinner, alone with his Lorenzino, who afterwards 
murdered him ; and it was always a great wonder to 
me that a Duke like him was so blindly trustful. 

Ixxxi. Now it came about that Ottaviano de' 
Medici, who to all intents governed everything in 
Florence, took the part of the old Master of the Mint. 



This fellow, Bastiano Cennini, was out of date, and 
had little knowledge. But his patron had mixed up 
his clumsy dies with mine in making the crowns. 
I complained about it to the Duke, who, finding it 
to be so, was much grieved, and said, " Go and tell 
this to Ottaviano de' Medici, and show him what has 
happened." So ofF I went and pointed out the 
injury done to my beautiful coins. But he answered 
me like a fool, " We Hke it so ; " whereupon I 
replied that it was all wrong, and I would not have 
it. Said he, " And if the Duke is pleased ? " But 
I answered, " Even then it would not satisfy me, for 
the thing is neither just nor reasonable." He bade 
me be off, and said I must swallow it so if I burst. 
Returning to the Duke, I related the whole of the 
disagreeable conversation between Ottaviano de* 
Medici and myself, and begged his Excellency not to 
let this injury be done to the beautiful coins I had 
made ; also to give me leave to take my departure. 
Then he answered, " Ottaviano goes too far. You 
shall have your own way, for this is an insult 
to me." 

The same day — it was a Thursday — there came to 
me from Rome an ample safe-conduct from the Pope, 
telling me to repair to him at once for the pardon of 
the Saint Maries in the middle of August, so that I 
might free myself from the charge of homicide. I 
went to seek the Duke, whom I found in bed, after 
an excess, as I was told. In little more than two 
hours I finished what was wanting to his wax medal, 
and when he saw the thing complete he was much 
pleased. Then I drew out the safe-conduct, and 
told him how the Pope had begged me to come back 
and do certain work for him. Thus I should regain 
a place in that fair city of Rome ; yet, nevertheless, 
I should go on with his Excellency's medal. At this 
the Duke said, half in anger, " Benvenuto, do as I 
wish. Stop where you are, for I will settle your 



salary and give you the apartments in the Mint, and 
a great deal more than you would ever think of ask- 
ing me, for you only ask v^^hat is just and reason- 
able. And whom would you leave to strike the fine 
dies you have made me ? " Then I answered, " My 
lord, everything has been thought of, for I have here 
d. pupil of mine, a young Roman, whom I have 
taught ; and he will serve your Excellency admirably 
till I come back, with your medal finished, never to 
leave you any more. In Rome I have a shop with 
workmen and a deal of business ; but as soon as I 
have got my pardon, I shall leave all the favour I 
enjoy there to an apprentice of mine, and then, with 
your Excellency's gracious leave, return to you." 
While we were talking, the only one present was 
Lorenzino de' Medici. Several times the Duke 
signed to him to urge me to stay, but Lorenzino 
would say nothing save, " Benvenuto, you would do 
best to stop here." I replied that I had the greatest 
desire to regain my old standing in Rome ; where- 
upon he answered nothing, but stood looking at the 
Duke with the most evil eye. When the medal was 
finished as I wished, and I had shut it up in its little 
case, I said to the Duke, " My lord, be my good 
friend in this matter, for I shall make you a far 
finer medal than I made for Pope Clement. This is 
but natural, since that was the first that ever I tried 
my hand on ; and Messer Lorenzino here will pro- 
vide some beautiful design for the reverse, being a 
person of learning and the greatest talent." Thereat 
Lorenzino answered, " I have no other thought in 
my mind but to give you a reverse worthy of his 
Excellency." The Duke laughed, and, looking at 
Lorenzo, said, "You shall give him the reverse, and 
he shall do it here and not go away." And Lorenzo 
cried out, " I will do it as speedily as may be, 
and hope it may be what shall make the world 
wonder." The Duke, who now looked on him as 


something of a fool, and now as a coward, only 
turned over in bed and laughed at his words. I then 
went ofF without formal leave-taking, and left them 
alone together. The Duke, who did not believe that 
I was quitting Florence, said nothing more to me. 
But when he learned afterwards that I had really set 
oiF, he sent a servant after me, who overtook me 
at Siena, and gave me fifty gold ducats from his 
Excellency, also a message that I should spend them 
and remember him ; likewise that I was to come 
back as soon as I could. " And," said the man, 
" Messer Lorenzo bids me say he is preparing a 
marvellous reverse for the medal you are going to 
make." I had left full instructions with Pietro 
Pagolo, the Roman of whom I have spoken, as to 
how he was to stamp the coins ; but the thing was 
very difficult, and he never did the work very well. 
I remained the creditor of the Mint for making the 
dies, to the amount of more than seventy crowns. 

Ixxxii. On my way to Rome, I carried the splendid 
arquebuse which the Duke had given me, and many 
a time did I use it on the journey, to my great 
enjoyment, while the feats I performed with it were 
extraordinary. At last I reached the City. Now I 
had a little house in the Strada Giulia, but as it was 
not ready, I dismounted at the house of Messer 
Giovanni Gaddi, clerk of the Camera, to whom, on 
my departure from Rome, I had confided a number 
of fine weapons and many other things I valued. I 
did not wish to get down at my shop, but sent for 
my partner, Felice, and told him to have my little 
house put into proper order without delay. The 
next day I went to sleep there, having made a good 
provision of clothes and other necessary things, as on 
the morrow I intended to go and see the Pope and 
thank him. In my employment were two serving 
lads, and on the floor beneath was a laundress, who 
cooked for me excellently. I had several friends to 


supper, and the evening having passed most pleasantly, 
I went to bed. The night was hardly over ; it was 
more than an hour to dawn, when I heard a tre- 
mendous hammering at the door of my house, each 
knock hurrying on the top of the other. So I called 
for the elder of my two servants, who was called 
Cencio (the one whom I took with me to the 
wizard's circle), and told him to go and see what 
madman was making this devilish noise at such an 
hour. While Cencio went down, I lighted another 
lamp — I kept one burning always during the night 
— hastily slipped over my shirt a magnificent coat 
of mail, and above that whatever garments came 
to hand. Cencio came back crying, " Alas ! my 
master, it is the Bargello with all his guard ; and he 
says if you don't make haste, he will beat the door 
down. And they have torches and all kinds of 
things with them." To which I answered, "Tell 
him I am putting on a rag or two of clothes, and I 
am coming down in my shirt." Thinking it was 
an attempt at murder, such as Signor Pier Luigi had 
plotted, I took in my right hand a first-rate dagger, 
and in my left the safe-conduct. Then I ran to the 
back windows, which gave on some gardens, and 
there I saw more than thirty of the guards. So I 
knew that I could not escape by that side. Putting 
the two lads in front of me, I told them to open the 
door the very instant I should tell them. Then, quite 
ready, my dagger in my right hand, the safe-conduct 
in my left, and in a proper attitude of defence, I said 
to my lads, " Have no fear. Open the door I " 
At once Vittorio, the Bargello, with two of the 
guards, burst in, thinking to seize me without 
difficulty ; but finding me prepared, they retired, 
saying, "This is no jesting matter." On which I 
called out, throwing them the safe-conduct, " Read 
that, and since you may not arrest me, I will not 
let you touch me." Then the Bargello ordered 


some of his men to lay hands on me, saying the safe- 
conduct would be seen to later. At this I flashed 
out my weapon furiously. " God for the right ! " 
I cried. " Alive, I'm not for you. You can only 
take me dead." The room was crowded. They 
looked as if they would come at me with force ; but 
I stood grimly on the defensive, and the Bargello 
saw he could not have me otherwise than I had said. 
So he called the notary, and while he was having the 
safe-conduct read, two or three times he made as if 
he were about to set his guard on me. Yet I stood 
firm in my resolution. Then, giving up the attempt, 
they threw the safe -conduct on the ground and 
made off without me. 

Ixxxiii. I went back to my rest, but I was so 
disturbed that I could not fall asleep again. I meant 
to be bled as soon as it should be daylight, so I asked 
advice of Messer Giovanni Gaddi, by whom I was 
sent to a quack of his acquaintance, who asked me if 
I had had a fright ! Now think what a wise doctor 
he was, who, after hearing of such a serious matter, 
asked me a question Hke that ! He was a feather- 
brained fool, who was always laughing, and about 
nothing at all. So now, sniggering as usual, he told 
me to take a good beaker of Greek wine, and to be 
merry, and to keep my mind at rest. Then Messer 
Giovanni said, "A thing of bronze or marble might 
tremble in a case like this. How much more a mere 
man ? " Whereupon the quack replied, " Mon- 
signor, we are not all made the same way. This 
man is neither of bronze nor marble, but of pure 
iron itself ; " and, feeling my pulse, laughing idiotic- 
ally the while, he said to Messer Giovanni, "Feel 
here now ; this is no man's pulse ; it is a lion's or a 
dragon's." Then as my pulse was beating furiously, 
perhaps much faster than in any case which that 
imbecile doctor had read of either in Hippocrates or 
Galen, I knew how ill I was. But that I might 


not make myself more agitated or worse than I was 
already, I pretended to be in good heart. Mean- 
while Messer Giovanni had ordered dinner, and the 
whole company sat down to eat. Among us, besides 
our host, were Messer Lodovico of Fano, Messer 
Antonio Allegretti, Messer Giovanni Greco, all men 
of great learning, and Messer Annibal Caro, who 
was then quite a youth ; and nothing else was talked 
about at dinner except this brave deed of mine. 
Moreover, they had the whole story again from my 
young servant Cencio, who was extraordinarily in- 
telligent, spirited, and handsome. Every time he 
recounted my fierce daring — taking on my attitude 
in the encounter, and repeating the very words I 
had used — he called up circumstances I had for- 
gotten. Then they went on to ask if he had been 
afraid ; to which he answered they should ask me, 
for he had felt just as I had done. 

This parrot talk wearied me in the end ; and, 
since I felt much shaken, I rose from table, saying I 
wished to go and get new suits of cloth and azure 
silk for Cencio and myself, for I was going to walk 
in the procession, four days hence, at the Saint 
Maries, when I intended him to carry a white 
lighted torch. So I departed and went to have the 
blue cloth cut, with a fine vest of sarcenet, also blue, 
and a doublet of the same. For the lad I ordered a 
doublet and vest of blue taiFeta. When the things 
were cut, I went off to the Pope, who bade me 
speak with Messer Ambrogio, as he had given orders 
I was to make a large gold vessel. So I went to 
find Messer Ambrogio. He knew all about the 
Bargello affair, and had, indeed, been in alliance 
with my enemies to bring me back from Florence, 
and had rated the Bargello well for not having 
arrested me. That officer excused himself, saying 
he could not openly defy a safe-conduct. But when 
I went to him, Messer Ambrogio talked over the 



business which the Pope had given him orders 
about. He bade me make the designs, and every- 
thing would be arranged for the work. 

Meanwhile came on the day of the Saint Maries. 
Now it is the custom that those about to obtain 
their pardon should surrender themselves prisoners. 
But I returned to the Pope and said to his Holiness 
I did not wish to be put in prison, and begged him 
to let me off. He said that such was the custom, 
and so it must be. Thereupon I knelt down once 
more, and thanked him for the safe-conduct he had 
given me, with which I should return to the service 
of my Duke of Florence, who waited me in all 
eagerness. Hearing this, he turned to one of his 
attendants and said, "Let Benvenuto have his 
pardon without the prison. Make out his papers 
to this effect." The document being drawn up, 
the Pope signed it, and it was registered at the 
Capitol. Then, on the appointed day, I walked in 
the procession, in an honourable place between two 
gentlemen, and received my full pardon. 

Ixxxiv. Four days after I was seized with a very 
high fever and with a shaking fit. I went to bed, 
and thought I was about to die. The first physicians 
in Rome were called in, among whom was one Maestro 
Francesco da Norcia, the oldest doctor in the city, 
and the one of most reputation. I explained to the 
doctors what I believed to be the cause of my grave 
illness ; that I had wished to be bled, but was advised 
against it ; and I begged them, if it were not too 
late, to bleed me now. Maestro Francesco answered 
that to draw blood now would do me no good, but 
if it had been done at the right time, I should not 
have been ill at all. Now he must cure me in some 
other way. So they enlisted all their zeal and skill 
for my cure, and every day I got violently worse. 
At the end of eight days the malady had increased 
so much that the doctors, despairing of the case, 


ordered that I should be indulged and given any- 
thing I asked for. Maestro Francesco said, "While 
he still breathes call on me at any hour, for one 
never knows what Nature will do for a young man 
of this sort ; but if he should become unconscious, 
give him these five remedies, one on top of the 
other, and send for me. I will come at any hour of 
the night. For I should be better pleased to save 
him than any Cardinal in Rome." Two or three 
times a day Messer Giovanni Gaddi came to visit 
me, and every time he would handle my fine gun, 
or mv armour, or my sword, always saying, " This 
is a nne thing," or " This other is still finer." And 
the same did he with my models, and with all my 
other little possessions, till he made me furious. 
And with him came a certain Mattio Franzesi, who 
looked as if he were wearying for my death, not 
because he would come in for anything of mine; but, 
as it appeared, he merely wished for what Messer 
Giovanni had such a longing for. 

I had with me Felice, my partner, who gave me 
the best aid which one man could possibly give to 
another in this world. My strength was ebbing all 
away. I had not force enough to draw a breath, 
but my brain was as sound as when I was in health. 
Yet though I was not delirious, a terrible old man 
used to come to my bedside, and try to haul me by 
force into a great boat. Then I would call for my 
Felice to come to me and chase the old scoundrel 
away. Felice, who loved me tenderly, would come 
running in tears, crying, " OfF with you, you old 
traitor, who would rob me of my all!" Messer 
Giovanni Gaddi, who was standing by, said, "The 
poor fellow raves. Ah ! he'll not last long ; " while 
the other man, Mattio Franzesi, added, "" He has 
read Dante, and in his utter weakness his mind 
wanders ; " then with a laugh, " Be off, you old 
rascal ! don't vex our Benvenuto ! " I saw they 



were laughing at me ; so I turned to Messer Giovanni 
Gaddi and said to him, "My dear master, I would 
have you know that I am not raving, and that it is 
the truth, this old man annoys me very much. But 
you would do well to take that villain Mattio out of 
my sight, for he laughs at my misfortunes ; and the 
next time your lordship is good enough to come and 
see me, let it be with Messer Antonio Allegretti, or 
Messer Annibal Caro, or any other of your dis- 
tinguished acquaintances, men of taste and intelli- 
gence, and of quite another stamp from this brute 
here." Then Messer Giovanni said in joke to 
Mattio to be ofF and never come back again ; but as 
Mattio still laughed, the joke became serious, for 
Messer Giovanni refused to see him again, and sent 
for Messer Antonio Allegretti and Messer Lodovico 
and Messer Annibal Caro. As soon as these worthy 
men had come, I was much comforted, and talked 
with them quite sensibly, yet every now and then 
entreating Felice to drive away the old man. Messer 
Lodovico asked me who it was I saw, and what he 
was like. While I was drawing his picture exactly in 
words, the old man took hold of my arm and hauled me 
forcibly towards him, so that I called out to them to 
help me, for he was going to throw me down to the 
bottom of his fearsome boat. At these last words I 
fell into a deep swoon, and it seemed to me that I was 
being thrown into the boat. They said that while I 
lay unconscious, I tossed about and cast evil words at 
Messer Giovanni, telling him he came to rob me, 
and not for love of me at all, and a great many other 
accusations which put him greatly to the blush. 
Then, they said, I stopped as if I were dead ; 
and when more than an hour had come and gone, 
and I seemed to be growing cold, they left me for 
dead. Then they went home and told Mattio 
Franzesi, who wrote to my dearest friend, Messer 
Benedetto Varchi, at Florence, that at such and 


such an hour of the night they had seen me die. 
That man of great talent, and my most dear friend, 
hearing this false report of my death, made an 
admirable sonnet, which shall be set down in its 
own place. 

More than three hours passed ere I came to myself; 
and having applied all the physician's remedies, and 
seeing that I still did not revive, my beloved Felice 
set off running to Maestro Francesco of Norcia's 
house. He knocked so loud that he awoke him and 
made him rise. Weeping, he begged him to come 
to my house, for he thought I was dead. Where- 
upon Maestro Francesco, who was a very hot- 
tempered man, called down, " My son, what do you 
think I should do if I came ? If he is dead, I am 
sorrier than you. Do you think that by coming 
with my medicine I could blow life into his body ? " 
But seeing that the poor lad went off crying, he 
called him back, and gave him a certain oil where- 
with to anoint my pulses and my heart, and told him 
to squeeze my little toes and little fingers very 
hard ; adding that if I came to, he was to be sent for 
at once. Felice left Maestro Francesco and did his 
bidding. When it was almost daylight, and hope was 
given up by the watchers, orders were given to make 
my shroud and to wash my body. All of a sudden I 
came to myself, and called out to Felice to drive off the 
old man who was plaguing me, and, quick, quick, I 
said. Whereupon Felice wanted to send for Maestro 
Francesco ; but I said no ; he was to come to me and 
drive away the old man, who was afraid of him. 
When Felice came to my bedside, and I touched 
him, the furious old wretch seemed to make off; so I 
begged him to stay by me all the time. But Maestro 
Francesco came at last, and he said he was deter- 
mined to save me in spite of everything, and that he 
had never seen greater force in any young man than 
in me. Then, sitting down to write, he ordered 



perfumes, lotions, unguents, plasters, and all sorts of 
wonderful things. In the meanwhile, having had 
more than twenty leeches applied to mv posteriors, I 
came to, but I felt as if I had been pierced, bound, 
and pulverised. Many of my friends came to see 
the miracle of the revived corpse, and among them 
men of the greatest importance. In their presence 
I said that the little gold I had — which might 
amount to eight hundred crowns, between gold, 
silver, jewels, and loose money — I wished to be 
given to my poor sister in Florence, who was called 
Mona Liperata. All the rest of my belongings, 
including my armour, I bequeathed to my beloved 
Felice, and fifty gold ducats besides, so that he might 
buy himself clothing. Hearing this, Felice fell on 
my neck, saying he wished for nothing but that I 
should live. Then I said, " If you wish me to live, 
put your hand on me as before, and cry to that old 
man to be off, for he is afraid of you." At these 
words some of them were terrified, for they said I 
was not raving, but spoke reasonably and with a clear 

So my illness Hngered on, and I got little better. 
The most excellent Maestro Francesco came four or 
five times a day, but Messer Giovanni Gaddi, who 
had been shamed, never came to see me any more. 
My brother-in-law, however, the husband of my 
sister Liperata, turned up from Florence to claim the 
inheritance ; but he was a very good fellow and was 
delighted to find me alive. I was comforted more 
than I can tell by the sight of him, and he showed 
me the utmost affection, saying he had only come to 
nurse me with his own hands. And he did so for 
several days. After that I sent him away, the hope 
of my recovery being by that time almost sure. It 
was then he left the sonnet of Messer Benedetto 
Varchi. Here it is : — 



On the supposed Death of Benvenuto 
Cellini, who was yet alive. 

Who shall console us, Mattio ? Who shall tell 
Our eyes to cease their weeping o'er his bier ? 
Ah, the hard truth, that leaving us down here, 

In youthful haste, he has gone up to dwell ! 

Clear, friendly soul, in art thou didst excel 
All that did come before thee. Much I fear 
The world shall never see again thy peer. 

The world, of which the best take first farewell. 

O gentle spirit, if beyond our haze 

Still thou mayst love, look on me from the sky. 
'Tis not thy bliss I weep, but mine own ill. 

Now from thy place in Heaven thou dost gaze 
On the High Father ; seest Him face to face 
Whom thou didst shadow with thy mortal skill. 

Ixxxv. My malady had been so terrible that it 
seemed as if it would never end ; and that good man 
Francesco da Norcia gave himself more trouble than 
ever, and every day he kept bringing me new remedies, 
striving to repair that poor disordered instrument, my 
body. Yet with all these extraordinary efforts, it 
seemed impossible to weaken the malady's persistent 
hold on me ; so that the doctors were almost in 
despair, and did not know what further they could 
do. I had an insatiable thirst, yet I had refrained 
from drinking for many days, in obedience to orders. 
Felice, who was very proud of having saved my life, 
never left me ; and the old man troubled me less, 
though he still came to me sometimes in my dreams. 
But one day Felice had gone out, and an apprentice 
was left as nurse, with a servant called Beatrice. I 
asked the apprentice what had become of my lad 
Cencio, and why I had never seen him waiting on 
me. The lad told me that Cencio had been much 
more ill than I, and that now he lay at the point of 
death. Felice had ordered them not to tell me this. 


I was greatly grieved at the news, and I called Beat- 
rice, the servant, a girl from Pistoja, and begged her 
to fill a great crystal wine-cooler, that stood near, 
with clear fresh water, and to bring it to me. The 
girl ran at once and brought it to me full. I asked 
her to hold it to my mouth, and promised, if she 
would let me drink as long a draught as I wished, Fd 
give her a gown. Now this servant had stolen a 
few little things of some importance, and in her 
terror lest the theft should be found out, she would 
have been glad for me to die. Therefore she let me 
drink twice of the water, and as much as I could each 
time, so that in truth I drank more than a flask. 
Then I lay down under the bedclothes, began to per- 
spire, and fell asleep. Felice came back after I had 
slept about an hour, and asked the lad how I was. 
" I don't know," said the boy ; " Beatrice brought 
him that wine-cooler full of water, and he has nearly 
drunk it all. I don't know now if he be dead or 
alive." They say the poor young fellow almost fell 
down in a swoon from the vexation he felt. Then 
taking a thick stick he beat the servant furiously, 
crying, " Alas, traitress ! you have killed him." 
But while Felice was belabouring her, and she was 
howling, I dreamt. It seemed to me that I saw the 
old man again with ropes in his hand, and he was 
preparing to bind me with them. Felice now came 
on the scene, and was attacking him with a hatchet, 
so that the old wretch ran away, crying "Let me 
go, and I shan't come back again in a hurry ! " 
Meanwhile Beatrice ran into my room, screaming at 
the top of her voice. This woke me up, and I said, 
" Let her alone, for perhaps in meaning me harm, she 
has done me more good than you ever have been 
able to, with all your devotion. But come now and 
help me, for I am all of a sweat. Quick ! " Felice took 
heart again, dried me, and made me comfortable ; and 
feeling greatly better, I became assured of my recovery. 



When Maestro Francesco came, he saw the great 
improvement in me, also the servant weeping, the 
prentice running hither and thither, and Felice laugh- 
ing. This confusion made the doctor think some 
extraordinary thing had happened, which had worked 
this change in me for the better. Meanwhile, the 
other doctor. Maestro Bernardino, had come in, the 
one who, in the beginning, had not wished me to be 
bled. Maestro Francesco, that splendid fellow, cried 
out, " Oh, power of Nature ! she knows her own 
needs. We doctors know nothing." Whereupon 
that fool of a Maestro Bernardino answered, " If only- 
he had drunk another flask, he would have been cured 
at once." But Maestro Francesco, a venerable man, 
and of great authority, replied, "Please God that 
such a misfortune fall on your own head ! " Then 
turning to me, he asked me if I could have drunk 
more. " No," I answered, " for I had quenched my 
thirst," Then to Maestro Bernardino he said, "See 
you. Nature had just satisfied her needs, neither 
more nor less. So was she craving what she needed, 
when the poor young man requested to be bled. If 
you knew that the saving of him depended on his 
drinking two flasks of water, why did you not say so 
before ? Then you would have got the credit." At 
these words the quack went off in a surly temper, 
and he never turned up any more. 

Then Maestro Francesco said I must be taken out 
of the room where I lay ; and he had me carried up 
to one of the hills of Rome. Cardinal Cornaro, 
hearing of my recovery, had me brought to a place 
of his on Monte Cavallo. That very night I was 
carried with the utmost care in a chair, well covered, 
and not jostled. As soon as I arrived, I began to 
vomit, and in the vomit which I brought up was a 
hairy worm, a quarter of a cubit in length. The 
hairs were long, and the worm was most hideous, 
and covered with different coloured spots, green, 


black, and red. They kept it for the doctor, who 
declared he had never seen such a thing. Then 
he said to Felice, "Now take good care of your 
Benvenuto, for he is cured. Don't allow him any 
excesses. For though he has escaped this time, yet 
another disorder would kill him. You see his sick- 
ness has been so serious, that had we been bringing 
him the holy oil, we might have come too late. Now 
I am sure that with a little patience and time he 
will still do fine work." Then turning to me, he 
said, "Benvenuto, my friend, be wise, and lead a 
regular life ; and when you are cured, I want you 
to make me a Madonna with your own hand, and I 
will say my prayers to her always for love of you." 
Afterwards I asked him whether I might prudently 
move to Florence. He told me that I should get a 
little stronger first, and wait to see what Nature did 
for me. 

Ixxxvi. After eight days had passed, the improve- 
ment was so little that I was aweary of .myself ; for 
I had been more than fifty days in this great trouble. 
But making up my mind, I prepared to set off; 
and in a double basket-litter my dear Felice and I 
departed for Florence. Now as I had not written 
beforehand, when I got to my sister's house, she 
wept and laughed over me at the same time. That 
day many of my friends came to see me, among 
them Pier Landi, the best and the dearest I ever had 
in the world. Next day came a certain Niccolo 
da Monte Aguto, also a very great friend of mine. 
Now he had heard the Duke say, " Benvenuto would 
have done much better if he had died, for he has 
come here to run his head into a halter ; and I shall 
never pardon him." So Niccolo came to me in 
despair, and said, "Alas, dear Benvenuto, what are 
you doing here ? Do you not know how you have 
offended the Duke ? I have heard him swear that 
you were running your head into a halter, for a 


certainty." Then I answered, "Niccolo, recall to 
his Excellency that Pope Clement wanted to hang 
me before now, and with as little justice. Let him 
keep a look out on me, and leave me until I am 
better. Then I can prove to his lordship that 
I have been the most faithful servant he will ever 
have in the whole course of his life ; and since 
some enemy must have done me this ill turn out of 
jealousy, let him wait till I get my health, and I can 
render such an account of myself as will astonish 

Now this ill turn I owed to the painter Giorgetto 
Vassellario of Arezzo, perhaps in return for many 
good turns I had done him. For I had given him 
hospitality in Rome and paid his expenses, though he 
had been a most troublesome guest ; for he suffered 
from a dry skin disease, and his hands were all wasted 
from continual scratching. Now he had slept with 
a good young fellow in my employment, called 
Manno ; and when he thought he was scratching 
himself, he had taken the skin off one of Manno's 
legs with his dirty hands, the nails of which he never 
cut. Manno left me, and, indeed, was determined to 
have his life ; but I reconciled them. Afterwards I 
got an opening for Giorgio with the Cardinal de' 
Medici, and continued to help him. It was for this 
I had deserved his slanderous report to the Duke 
Alessandro that I had spoken ill of his Excellency, 
and had boasted I should be the first to scale the 
walls of Florence, in company with his exiled enemies. 
These words, according to what I heard later, had 
been put into his mouth by that gallant gentleman 
Ottaviano de' Medici, who wanted to revenge him- 
self for the Duke's rating him in the matter of the 
coins, and my consequent departure from Florence. 
But I, who was innocent of this treason unjustly put 
to my count, had no fear in the world. And mean- 
while the clever doctor, Francesco da Montevarchi, 
G l8l 


treated me with the greatest skill. He had been 
introduced by my friend Luca Martini, who stayed 
the greater part of every day with me. 

Ixxxvii. In the meantime I had sent my devoted 
Felice to Rome to look after my business there. As 
soon as I could just raise my head from the pillow, 
which was at the end of fifteen days, though I could 
not yet put my feet to the ground, I had myself 
carried to the little upper terrace of the Medici 
palace. There I was seated to wait till the Duke 
should go by. Many of my friends of the Court 
came to speak to me, and they were greatly astonished 
I had given myself the pain of being carried in this 
fashion, while still in such a weak condition. I might 
have waited, they said, till I was quite better, and 
then have gone to see the Duke. There was a 
crowd of people about me, all looking at me as if 
I were a miracle, and this not so much because they 
had heard I was dead ; still stranger to them was it 
that now I looked like a corpse. Then I said before 
them all, how my lord the Duke had been told by 
some foul-ton gued rascal that I had boasted I should 
be the first to scale his Excellency's walls, and that, 
moreover, I had spoken ill of him. Thus I had not 
the heart to live or die till I should purge myself of 
this infamous accusation, and know who was the bold 
slanderer that had spread the false report. As I spoke, 
a large number of the gentlemen gathered round me. 
They manifested great sympathy for me, and while 
one said one thing and one another, I declared that I 
would never go away from here till I knew who was 
my accuser. At these words Maestro Agustino, 
the Duke's tailor, made his way through the crowd 
of nobles, and said, " If that's all you want to know, 
you can learn it now." At the very moment Giorgio, 
the painter, of whom I have spoken, was passing ; 
and Maestro Agustino said, "There's the man who 
accused you. Now you know best if it be true or not." 


I could not move from the spot, but I hotly demanded 
of Giorgio if this was the case. Giorgio said No ; 
it was not true, and he had never said any such 
thing. To this Maestro Agustino replied, " O you 
gallows bird ! don't you know that I know it per- 
fectly ? " Thereupon Giorgio made off in haste, 
still protesting he was not the man. In a little the 
Duke came along. I had myself propped up in front 
of his Excellency, and he stopped. I told him I had 
come here like this only to justify myself. The 
Duke looked at me, and wondered I was alive. 
Then he told me to give my mind to being an 
honest man, and to getting well. When I returned 
home, Niccolo da Monte Aguto came to see me, and 
told me I had passed through one of the most perilous 
storms in the world, and he never could have believed 
I should escape j for he had seen my evil fate written 
with unfading ink. But now I was to think of 
getting well speedily ; and then I must be out of 
this, for danger threatened me from a powerful 
quarter, and at the hands of a man who had the 
means of doing me hurt. Then, " Look out ! " he 
said, adding, "What harm have you done to that 
scoundrel Ottaviano de' Medici ? " I replied, I had 
never done him any harm, but that he had done me 
many an ill turn ; and I told him all about the 
Mint affair. Then said he again, " Be off as speedily 
as you can ; but be of good heart, for sooner than 
you think, you will see yourself revenged." So I did 
my best to get well, and advised Pictro Pagolo in the 
matter of the stamping of the coins. Then I set off for 
Rome, without notice to the Duke or any one else. 

Ixxxviii. When I got back to Rome, I amused 
myself among my friends, and then began the Duke's 
medal. In a few days I had completed the head in 
steel, and it was the finest thing of the kind I had 
ever done. Now there came to see me, at least once 
a day, a certain Messer Francesco Soderini, a fool of 



a man. Seeing what I was working at, he kept on 
saying to me over and over again, " Ah ! you heartless 
creature ! You are bent then on immortalising that 
mad tyrant ! And since you have never done any- 
thing so beautiful before, it is plain you are as much 
our determined enemy as you are their warm friend ; 
though the Pope and the Duke have twice tried to 
hang you without cause. So much for the Father 
and the Son ; look out for the Holy Ghost ! " It was 
fully believed, I should say, that Duke Alessandro 
was Pope Clement's son. Moreover, Messer Fran- 
cesco used to say, and firmly swear, that if he could, 
he would have stolen the dies for the medal. I 
answered that he had done well to tell me, and that 
I should take care he should never get a sight of them 

I sent word to Florence to ask Lorenzino to send 
me the reverse of the medal. Niccolo da Monte 
Aguto, to whom I had written, answered me to the 
effect that he had asked that mad, melancholy philo- 
sopher Lorenzino for it, who had replied, that night 
or day he thought of nothing else ; and that he 
would do it as soon as ever he could. Yet, said he, 
I was not to depend upon his reverse, but to invent 
one for myself; and as soon as I had finished it, 
bring it boldly to the Duke, and it would be a good 
thing for me. So I drew what seemed a fitting 
design, and put my best energy into the work ; but as 
I was not yet set up after my terrible illness, I often 
amused myself out shooting with my dear Felice. 
He, by the way, knew nothing of my craft, but as 
we were always together, night and day, every one 
supposed him to be a most skilled artist. So as he 
was a pleasant- tempered fellow, many a time we 
laughed about the great reputation he had won. 
Now his name was Felice Guadagni [Gain] ; so he 
used to joke with me, saying, " I should be called 
Felice Guadagni-poco [Gain-little], if you hadn't got 


me such credit that I can call myself Guadagni-assai 
[Gain-much]." But I told him there were two ways 
of earning : by the first, one gains for one's self ; by 
the second, for others j and then I praised the second 
method much more than the first — seeing he had won 
back for me my life. 

We had many and many a talk together, but 
there was one day in particular — in Epiphany it 
was — when we were near La Magliana, and evening 
was coming on. That day a good many wild ducks 
and geese had fallen to my gun. When I had made 
up my mind to shoot no more, we turned our faces 
towards Rome. I called my dog Barucco, but not 
seeing him in front of me, I turned and spied the 
well -trained creature watching certain geese that 
were huddled in a ditch. So I got down at 
once, loaded my little gun, and at a long range 
brought down two with one ball. I never used to 
shoot with more ; and even when I shot at two 
hundred cubits, I mostly hit my mark — and this can't 
be done in any other way. Of my two geese, one was 
almost dead, and the other was wounded and 
struggling to fly. My dog went for the first and 
fetched it back to me j while, seeing the other plunge 
right into the ditch, I jumped down after it. 
Trusting to my boots, which were very high, 1 
thrust out one foot and it stuck in the mud. Thus, 
though I caught the goose, my right boot was full of 
water. Lifting it up, I emptied the water, and then 
mounting, we hurried on to Rome. But the cold 
was extreme, and I felt my leg freezing ; so I said 
to Felice, " Something must be done for my leg ; I 
cannot bear it any longer." Without another word, 
the good Felice got down from his horse, and gathered 
thistles and twigs to light a fire. But while I 
waited, I had thrust my hands among the breast- 
feathers of the geese, and it was very warm there. 
So I did not let him kindle the fire, but stuffed my 



boot with goose's feathers, and all at once I felt such 
comfort that my Hfe came back to me. 

Ixxxix. Mounting again, we rode in hot haste 
towards Rome. It was night by the time we reached 
a certain rising ground. There, looking towards 
Florence, we both of us with one accord cried out in 
wonder, " O God of Heaven ! what marvel is this 
that we see above Florence ? " It looked like a great 
beam of fire, which radiated a glorious light. I said 
to Felice, " For certain, we shall hear to-morrow that 
some great event has come to pass in Florence." 
When we got back to Rome it was pitch dark, and 
as we reached the neighbourhood of the Banks, near 
our own house, my little horse was ambling on at a 
great pace. Now that very day they had piled up a 
heap of plaster and broken tiles in the middle of the 
street, and neither my horse nor I saw it. He rushed 
upon it furiously, and coming down on the other 
side, he fell, his head between his legs ; and if I got 
no hurt, it was truly by God's help. Out came all 
the neighbours' lights at the great noise ; but I rose 
quickly to my feet, and without mounting again I 
ran home, laughing heartily at having so barely 
escaped breaking my neck. On reaching my house, 
I found some friends of mine, and while we were 
having supper, I told them of all the accidents of the 
chase, and of that devilry in the sky — the beam of 
fire we had seen. Some of them said, "What 
meaning shall to-morrow give to this ? " And I 
answered, " This marvel means some great event that 
has taken place in Florence." And so supper passed 
by pleasantly. Next day, late, came the news of 
the death of Duke Alessandro. So, many of my 
acquaintances came to me and said, " You spoke the 
truth, that in Florence some great event had happened." 
And then came Messer Francesco Soderini, jogging 
along on his old mule, laughing all the way like a 
fool, and saying, " This is the reverse of that rascally 


tyrant's medal, which your Lorenzino de' Medici 
promised you," adding, "You would immortalise 
dukes for us, would you ? We'll have no more 
dukes ; " and then he mocked at me, as if I had been 
head of the faction that makes the dukes. Then in 
came a certain Baccio Bettini, whose ugly head was 
as big as a corbel, and he, too, railed at me about 
dukes, saying, "WeVe unduked them. We'll have 
no more dukes ! And you who would make them 
immortal for us ! " and other wearisome jokes of the 
kind. This was too much for me in the end, and I 
burst out, " O you fools ! I am a poor goldsmith, 
and I serve him who pays me ; yet you rail at me as 
if I were the head of a party. Nevertheless, I won't 
cast up to you the greed, the folly, the cowardice of 
men Hke you in the past. But in answer to your 
foolish laughter, I tell you plainly that, before two or 
three days have gone by, you shall have another duke, 
and may be a much worse one than the last." Next 
day Bettini came to my shop and said, "What is the 
good of spending money on couriers, for you know 
things before they come to pass ? What spirit tells 
them to you ? " And he told me that Cosimo de' 
Medici, son of Lord Giovanni, was made Duke ; but 
he was bound by certain conditions, so that he could 
not cut capers just as he liked. Then I began to 
laugh at this, saying, "Those Florentines have 
mounted a young man on a splendid horse ; they 
have given him spurs, put the reins freely in his 
hand, set him out in a magnificent field full of 
flowers and fruits and all kinds of delicious things ; 
then they tell him he must not pass certain prescribed 
boundaries. Now, tell me, who is he that can hold 
him in, once he has a mind to pass them ? Laws 
cannot be enforced on the law's master." So they 
left me alone, and didn't trouble me any more. 

xc. Then I gave my attention to my shop, and 
went on with my business, which was not, however, 



of great importance at the time, for I was taking 
good care of my health, as it did not seem quite assured 
after the serious illness through which I had passed. 

Meanwhile the Emperor had come back victorious 
after his Tunis expedition ; and the Pope sent for 
me to ask my advice concerning a suitable gift 
for his Majesty. Whereupon I said that, in my 
opinion, the most fitting gift would be a golden 
crucifix, for which I had almost completed an orna- 
ment : this would be just the right thing, and 
would do infinite credit to his Holiness and to me. 
I had already made three little golden figures in the 
round, of the length of a palm. Indeed, these were 
the Faith, Hope, and Charity I had designed for 
Pope Clement's chalice. Then I added in wax 
what was still needed for the foot of the cross, and 
when I took it to the Pope, with the Christ in wax, 
and a great many beautiful accessories, he was greatly 
pleased. Before I parted from his Holiness, we had 
come to an understanding on all that was to be done, 
and estimated the cost of the work. 

This was one evening at four hours after sun- 
down, and the Pope ordered Messer Latino Juvenale 
to provide me with the money next morning. It 
pleased this Messer Latino, who had a great vein ot 
foolishness in him, to suggest a new design to the 
Pope, which he made out of his own head. This 
upset all our arrangements ; and in the morning, 
when I went for the money, he said with his brutal 
impudence, " It is for us to invent ; for you to 
execute. Before I left the Pope last evening, we 
thought of something far better." But I cut into 
his words with, "Neither you nor the Pope could 
think of anything better than a design where Christ 
comes in. So out with all your courtier's tom- 
fooleries. I don't care a hang ! " Without another 
word he left me in a rage, and did his best to have 
the work given to another goldsmith. But the Pope 


would not have this ; and sending for me in haste, 
he told me that I had given him good advice, but 
that they w^ished to make use of a little book of the 
Hours of the Virgin, in which there were wonderful 
miniatures. It had cost the Cardinal de' Medici 
more than two thousand crowns. This would be 
a very suitable gift to the Empress ; and for the 
Emperor they would afterwards make what I had 
designed, which in truth would be a present worthy 
of him. He only proposed this arrangement because 
there was little time ; for the Emperor was expected 
in Rome in a month and a half or so. For this 
book he wanted a cover made of solid gold, richly 
worked, and studded thickly with jewels, worth about 
six thousand crowns. So when I had received the 
materials, I set about the work, giving all my mind 
to it, and in a few days its beauty was so manifest, 
that the Pope marvelled, and heaped compliments on 
me. It was understood that the brute Juvenale 
should not come near me. 

When the work was nearly finished, the Emperor 
arrived. Many triumphal arches of wonderful 
splendour were raised in his honour ; and he entered 
Rome with extraordinary pomp. But that I'll leave 
to others to describe, for I have no mind to speak 
save of what concerns myself. Immediately on his 
arrival, he presented the Pope with a diamond which 
he had bought for twelve thousand crowns. His 
Holiness sent for me, and giving me this diamond, 
said I was to make a ring to his measure. But first 
he wished me to bring the book just as it was. 
This I did, and he was greatly pleased. Then he 
consulted me as to what excuse he could make to 
the Emperor for the work being incomplete. I 
suggested that a plausible excuse would be my illness, 
which his Majesty would be ready to believe, seeing 
me so worn and wan. To this the Pope answered 
that that would do very well ; but that I was to add, 
G* 189 


from him, when I presented the book, that I made 
him a present of myself as well. Then he told me 
how I was to comport myself, and what words I 
should say. I repeated these words to him, asking 
him if he would be satisfied, did I say them so. 
" You could not do better," he replied, " if you have 
the courage to speak to the Emperor as you do to 
me." Then I answered that I should have far 
greater courage in speaking to the Emperor, seeing 
that he was clad like me, and that it would seem as 
if I were addressing a man made like myself; which 
was not the case when I spoke to his Holiness, in 
whom I saw a far greater divinity, partly because of 
his ecclesiastical trappings, which were as a kind of 
halo about him, and partly because of the fine venerable 
appearance of his Holiness. Both these things bred 
greater awe in me than did any Emperor. To this 
the Pope replied, " Go, Benvenuto mine, you are a 
very clever man. Do us credit, and it will be well 
for you." 

xci. The Pope had two Turkish horses, which had 
belonged to Pope Clement, the finest that ever were 
seen in Christendom. He ordered Messer Durante, 
his chamberlain, to lead them through the corridors 
of the palace, and then present them to the Emperor, 
with a little speech which he had composed for him. 
Down we went together, and came into the presence. 
The two horses entered, and made their way through 
the apartments so spiritedly and with such majesty, 
that the Emperor and every one marvelled. Then 
Messer Durante stepped out most awkwardly, and 
knotting up his tongue in his mouth, muttered 
something in his Brescian dialect ; and never was 
anything clumsier seen or heard. Even the Emperor 
could not quite keep from laughing. Meanwhile, I 
had already uncovered my work, and noticing that 
his Majesty had turned his eyes graciously on me, I 
stepped forward at once, and said : " Sacred Majesty, 



our most holy Pope Paul sends this book of the 
Madonna as a gift to you. The writing and the 
miniatures are the work of a master most famous in 
his art, and this rich cover of gold and jewels is thus 
incomplete, as you see, by reason of my indisposition. 
Therefore, his Holiness presents me to you along 
with the book, that I may finish it near your 
Majesty's person. Moreover, whatever your Majesty 
has a mind to have done, in that will I serve you 
while I live." To this the Emperor answered: 
"The book is pleasing to me, and so are you. But 
I wish you to finish it for me in Rome. And when 
it is finished, and you are recovered, bring it to me 
yourself." Afterwards in talking with me, he called 
me by my name, at which I wondered, for my 
name had come into nothing that had been said. 
But he told me he had seen the button of Pope 
Clement's cope, on which I had fashioned such won- 
derful designs. And so our conversation stretched 
out to a whole half-hour ; and we talked agreeably 
on many different things concerning art. Then 
when I thought I had gone through the affair with 
much greater honour than I had looked for, a pause 
in the conversation gave me a chance to take my 
leave. The Emperor was heard to say, "Give five 
hundred crowns to Benvenuto." The man who 
fetched them asked on his return who was the 
Pope's man who had spoken to the Emperor. Then 
out stepped Messer Durante, and stole away my five 
hundred crowns. I went and complained to the 
Pope, who told me not to fear, for he knew every- 
thing, and how well I had conducted myself and 
spoken in the presence of the Emperor ; and that 
assuredly I should have my share of the money. 

xcii. Returning to my shop, I gave all my mind 
to finishing the diamond ring. About this business 
there came to me four of the first jewellers in Rome. 
The Pope had heard that the diamond had been set 



by the hand of the most famous jeweller in the 
world, a Venetian called Miliano Targhetta. Now 
as the stone was somewhat thin, it was too difficult a 
matter to set about without much consultation. I 
had a high opinion of those jewellers, though among 
them was a Milanese called Gaio, the most conceited 
beast in the world, who knew less than any of the 
others, and thought he knew most of all. The rest 
were very modest and capable men. Messer Gaio 
before them all began to speak thus : " Preserve 
Miliano's tint ; and take off your hat to it, Ben- 
venuto ; for as tinting a diamond is the most 
beautiful and most difficult process in the jeweller's 
art, so Miliano is the greatest jeweller that ever lived, 
and this is the most difficult of diamonds." Then I 
answered that it would be all the more honour for 
me to compete with so first-rate a master ; and turn- 
ing to the others, I said, " Look, I am preserving 
Miliano*s tint ; and I am going to try if I cannot 
better it by my own invention. If not, we shall tint 
it again with this same. Then that fool Gaio said 
if I did it Hke that, he would gladly take ofF his hat 
to it ; and I replied, " Then if I do it better, two 
reverences are its due." " That's so," he answered ; 
and I began to make up my tints. 

With the greatest diligence I set about the work, 
the method of which I shall explain in its own place. 
Without a doubt, this diamond was more difficult to 
treat than any other I have met with before or after ; 
and that tint of Miliano's was made with very great 
art. However, I had no fear, and giving my very 
best brains to it, I produced what not merely 
equalled, but was far better than the other. Then 
seeing I had surpassed my rival, I now strove to 
surpass myself, and made a tint by new methods, 
which was ever so much finer than my first attempts. 
So I sent for the jewellers, and nrst tinted the 
diamond with Miliano's tint ; then after cleaning it, 


I retinted it with my own. When I had shown it 
to the jewellers, one of the principal of them, whose 
name was Raffaello del Moro, took the diamond in 
his hand, and said to Gaio, "Benvenuto has sur- 
passed the tint of Miliano." Gaio, who was un- 
willing to believe this, also took up the stone and 
said, "Benvenuto, this diamond is worth two 
thousand ducats more than it was with Miliano's 
tint." Then I answered, "Since I have beaten 
Miliano, let us now see if I can beat myself ; " and I 
begged them to wait a little. So I went up to a 
little cupboard, where, out of their sight, I retinted 
the diamond, and then brought it back to them. 
Graio cried out, "This is the most wonderful thing 
I have ever seen in all the days of my life, for now 
this diamond is worth eighteen thousand crowns, 
while we estimated it at hardly twelve ! " The 
other jewellers, turning to Gaio, said, " Benvenuto 
is the glory of our art, and before his tints we must 
duly bare our heads." Then Gaio went on, "I 
want to go and tell the Pope ; and I am determined 
he shall have a thousand golden crowns for setting 
the diamond." So he ran to his Holiness and told 
him all ; and the Pope sent three times that day to 
ask if the ring was finished. An hour before night- 
fall I took it to him ; and as the door was never 
closed to me, I lifted the portiere discreetly, and saw 
the Pope with the Marquis of Guasto, who was 
trying to force him to do something he didn't want 
to do, for I heard his Holiness answer, " I say no. 
My part is to be neutral, and nothing else." As I 
was quickly withdrawing, his Holiness called me, 
whereupon I returned at once with the fine 
diamond in my hand. He took me aside, and the 
Marquis drew back. While the Pope was looking 
at the diamond he said to me, " Benvenuto, start a 
conversation with me as if it were something im- 
portant, and don't stop while the Marquis stays in 


the room." Then he began walking about. I was 
quite pleased, for the thing was all to my good, and 
I described how I had contrived to tint the diamond. 
Meanwhile, as I have said, the Marquis stood apart 
from us, leaning against a tapestry hanging on the 
wall, now twisting about on one foot and now on 
the other. The subject of our conversation was so 
important, and needed so much explanation, that we 
might have talked of it for three whole hours ; and 
the Pope was so much interested that he never 
thought how weary the Marquis must be standing 
there. In my conversation I had mingled such 
philosophy as belongs to my profession, so that my 
dissertation went on for nearly an hour. Then the 
Marquis, tired to death, got in a rage and went out. 
The Pope was more affectionate than you can 
imagine, and said, " Wait, my Benvenuto, for I have 
a better reward in store for your merit than the 
thousand crowns which Gaio told me your labour 
was worth." Then I departed, and the Pope sang 
my praises before his courtiers, among whom was 
Latino Juvenale, of whom I have already spoken. 
Now he, who had become my enemy, tried zealously 
to do me a mischief; but seeing that his Holiness 
spoke of me with so much affection and so forcibly, 
he said, "Benvenuto is a man of wonderful talents; 
not a doubt of it. But every man is naturally bound to 
love his own country more than that of others. Still 
we should consider carefully how it behoves us to speak 
of a Pope. He has been heard to say that Pope 
Clement had the finest person of any prince that ever 
lived, and was extraordinarily gifted, but that he had 
no luck ; while he says of your Holiness just the 
opposite, and that you're a sad sight with the tiara 
on your head ; that you look like a dressed-up bundle 
of straw, and that your good luck is really all you 
can boast of." These words were of such weight, 
out of the mouth of him who knew exactly how to 


say them with effect, that the Pope believed them. 
Not only had I never said them, but I had never 
thought of saying them. If the Pope could have 
found any pretext, he would have done me a very ill 
turn ; but, like the clever man he was, he pretended 
to laugh at the thing. Nevertheless, he nursed such 
a deep hatred for me as cannot be told, and I began 
to be aware of it when I had no longer the same free 
entrance to him as before, and indeed could only see 
him with the greatest difficulty. As I had a long 
acquaintance with the papal court, I guessed some 
one had done me an ill turn, and, searching prudently 
into the thing, I learned all that had been said, but 
not the name of him who slandered me. Nor could 
I think who he might be. Had I only known, I 
shouldn't have measured my revenge too nicely. 

xciii. Meanwhile I was finishing my little book, 
and when it was done I took it to the Pope, who, in 
truth, couldn't keep from praising it highly. So I 
asked him to send me with it as he had promised. 
He answered that he would do his duty in the 
matter, and that my part was completed. Then he 
ordered that I should be well paid. For these works, 
which had taken me rather more than two months, 
1 got five hundred crowns. For the diamond I got 
one hundred and fifty crowns — no more; all the 
rest was for the work on the little book, which yet 
was worth more than a thousand, for it was richly 
ornamented with figures and foliage, with enamel- 
ling and jewels. I took what I could get, and made 
up my mind to leave Rome there and then. Mean- 
while the Pope sent my little book to the Emperor 
by one of his nephews called Signor Sforza. When 
he had presented the gift, the Emperor was much 
pleased, and immediately asked for me. Young 
Signor Sforza, who knew his lesson, said I had not 
come because I was ill. Everything was reported 
to me. 



In the meantime I was making preparations for 
going to France, and I meant to go alone ; but a 
young fellow who lived with me, called Ascanio, 
prevented that. This youth was of very tender 
years, and was the most admirable servant in the 
world. I took him from a former master of his, 
called Francesco, a Spanish goldsmith. I did not 
wish to take the boy, being anxious to avoid a 
quarrel with the Spaniard, so I said to Ascanio, 
"You had better not come to me, lest I anger your 
master." But he managed to persuade Francesco to 
write me a letter saying I was at liberty to engage 
him. Now he had been with me a good many 
months. When he left his former service he was 
thin and wan, and we called him, therefore, II 
Vecchino (the Httle old man) ; and indeed I 
thought he was such, partly because he served me so 
well, and partly because he was so knowing that it 
did not seem natural he should be as clever as that 
at thirteen years old, as he said he was. But now to 
return to my story. In a few months his health 
was restored ; he put on flesh, and became the 
handsomest boy in Rome. And since he was an 
excellent servant, as I have said, and wonderfully 
quick at learning our art, I felt like a father to him, 
and clothed him as if he had been my own child. 
When he saw himself in such good condition, he 
thought he had been lucky in having fallen into my 
hands j and he would often go and thank his master, 
who had been the means of it. Now this man had a 
beautiful young wife, and she said to the lad, " Sur- 
getto " (so they called him when he stayed with them), 
" what have you done to grow so beautiful ? " And 
Ascanio replied, "Madonna Francesca, it is my 
master who has made me so handsome, and so much 
better, too." The little spiteful thing took it very 
ill that Ascanio said this ; and as she had the name 
of not being a modest lady, she managed to show 


the lad more attention than was honest. So I 
noticed that he used to go to see his mistress much 
oftener than he had been wont. Now one day he 
gave a cruel beating to one of the Httle shop-boys. 
As soon as I came back from an outing, the child 
complained to me with many tears that Ascanio had 
beaten him for no reason at all. Whereupon I said 
to Ascanio, "With reason, or without, never lay 
your hand on any of my household again, or you'll 
feel the weight of mine." He spoke back to me ; 
whereupon I set on him, and with hands and feet 
gave him the soundest thrashing he ever had in his 
life. As soon as he escaped from my hands he ran 
out, without cloak or cap, and for two days I did 
not know in the least where he was — nor did I take 
any steps to find him. At the end of that time a 
Spanish gentleman, called Don Diego, came to speak 
to me. He was the most liberal man I have ever 
known in the world. I had done, and was now 
doing some work for him, so that he was a great 
friend of mine. He told me Ascanio had gone back 
to his old master, and if I thought good, he begged 
me to send him the cap and cloak which I had given 
him. To this I answered that Francesco had done 
ill, and that he had behaved like a boor ; for if he 
had told me, as soon as Ascanio had gone to him, 
that the boy was in his house, I should very willingly 
have allowed him to stop there. But he had kept 
him two days before letting me know it, and I 
therefore refused to let the boy remain. So let him 
look out I did not catch the lad in his house, I said. 
Don Diego handed on this message, and Francesco 
only made fun of it. Next morning I saw Ascanio 
working at some trashy things in wire by his 
master's side. On my passing, Ascanio did me 
reverence, but Francesco all but laughed in my face. 
Yet through Don Diego he sent once more to beg 
me to be good enough to send Ascanio the clothes 


I had given him. If not, it did not matter, for 
Ascanio should not want for clothes. When I had 
listened to his message, I turned to Don Diego and 
said, "Signer Don Diego, in all your dealings with 
me you have proved yourself the most liberal and 
the honestest man of my acquaintance ; but this 
Francesco is just the opposite j he is a faithless 
scoundrel. Tell him from me, that if before vespers 
he has not brought back Ascanio to my shop himself, 
I will certainly be the death of him ; and tell Ascanio 
that if he does not get out of the place by that time, 
I will do little less to him." Don Diego made me 
no answer, but went and put such a terror on 
Francesco that he did not know what to do. Mean- 
while Ascanio had gone in search of his father, who 
had come to Rome from Tagliacozzo, of which 
place he was a native. When he heard of the 
trouble, he also advised Francesco to bring back 
Ascanio to me. So Francesco said to the lad, "Go 
without me ; your father shall accompany you." 
But Don Diego answered, "Francesco, I see some 
great trouble in front of us. You know what Ben- 
venuto is better than I. Take the boy back without 
fail, and I will come with you." I had made my 
preparations, and was pacing up and down the shop, 
waiting for vespers to ring, and all ready to per- 
petrate one of the most terrible deeds of my life. 
Just then in came Don Diego, Francesco, Ascanio, 
and his father, whom I did not know. When 
Ascanio entered, I looked at them with a wrathful 
eye, while Francesco, pale as death, said, " See, I 
have brought Ascanio back to you. In keeping him 
I did not mean to offend you." And Ascanio said 
respectfully, "My master, forgive me. I am here to 
do whatever you bid me." Then I said, " Have you 
come to complete the time for which you bound 
yourself?" He said, "Yes," and that he never 
wished to go away again. Then I told the little 


shop-boy whom he had beaten to bring the bundle 
of clothes, and I said to him, "There are all the 
clothes I gave you. Take them and your liberty 
too, and go whithersoever you will.'* Don Diego 
was astonished, for he expected anything but this. 
But Ascanio and his father, too, begged me to 
pardon him and take him back. When I asked who 
it was who spoke for him, he told me it was his 
father ; to whom I said, after many entreaties, 
" Because you are his father, I will take him back 
for your sake." 

xciv. Now I had made up my mind, as I said a 
little time ago, to set out for France. For I saw 
that the Pope had not so great a conceit of me as 
before evil tongues had fouled the fame of my good 
service ; and I feared lest they who could do this, 
might do me a worse turn. So I was determined to 
seek another country and better luck ; and I was 
desirous of setting out without any one's leave, and 
alone. The evening before my start I told my 
faithful Felice to make use of my property till I came 
back, and, if I never returned, everything was to be 
his. I had a Perugian apprentice who had helped 
me to finish the Pope's commissions, and him I 
now paid off. But he begged me to let him come 
along with me, and said he would pay his own way ; 
also if I should stop to work for the King of France, 
it would be better for me to have my own Italians 
about me, and especially such as I knew could be of 
service to me. He knew how to use such persuasion 
that I consented to take him with me on the terms 
he had suggested. Then Ascanio, who was by 
during this discussion, said to me almost in tears, 
"When you took me back, I said I should stay with 
you for life, and I would fain do so." But I told 
him I would not have him with me for any- 
thing in the world. Thereupon the poor lad made 
his preparations to come after me on foot ; and 


seeing his determination, I hired an extra horse for 
him, put one of my small valises on the crupper, and 
burdened myself with much more superfluous stuff 
than I had intended. 

Leaving Rome, I travelled on to Florence, from 
Florence to Bologna, from Bologna to Venice, and 
from Venice to Padua, where I left my inn for the 
house of my dear friend, Alessandro del Bene. Next 
day I went to kiss the hand of Messer Pietro Bembo, 
who was not yet Cardinal. Messer Pietro gave me 
as warm a welcome as ever man received. Then, 
turning to Alessandro, he said, " I want Benvenuto 
to stay here with all his company, though they be a 
hundred. So make up your mind, if you want 
Benvenuto, to be also my guest, for I will not give 
him up to you." And so I remained, and was well 
entertained by that most distinguished gentleman. 
He had prepared a room for me which would have 
done too much honour to a cardinal, and he would 
always have me sit at his table. Gradually he began 
to insinuate, with great modesty, that I might do 
his portrait. I desired nothing better in the world. 
So I mixed some clean fine white plaster of Paris in a 
box, and began. The first day I worked two hours 
on end, and sketched his fine head with such grace 
that his lordship was astounded. It must be said 
that though he was eminent in letters, and in the 
highest rank of poets, yet of my art he understood 
nothing at all. So he thought I had finished when 
I had hardly begun, and I could not make him see 
that it wanted a great deal of time to do the thing 
well. However, I made up my mind to do my best 
and give it all the time it deserved ; but as he wore 
a short beard, in the Venetian fashion, I had a deal 
of trouble to model the head so that it satisfied me. 
Still I did finish it, and I thought I had never done 
so fine a thing, judged from the point of view of my 
art. But he was dismayed, for he had thought, as I 


had done the first rough model in two hours, I should 
cast it in ten ; and now he saw that I had not com- 
pleted the wax in two hundred hours, and I was 
asking leave to go off to France. This distressed 
him greatly ; and he entreated me first to do him a 
reverse for the medal at least, the design to be a 
Pegasus within a myrtle wreath. I did it in 
about three hours, and put my most elegant work 
into it. He was much pleased, but he said, " This 
horse seems to me ten times more difficult to do 
than the Httle head over which you slaved so long. 
I do not understand why it was so hard to do." 
But he kept on begging me to carry it out in steel, 
saying, " I entreat you as a great favour. You can 
do it quickly, if you have a mind to." I said I was 
not willing to do it at the moment ; but in what- 
ever place I stopped to work I should finish it with- 
out fail. 

Before this discussion was settled, I went to bargain 
for three horses to take me into France, and Messer 
Bembo kept a private watch on me, for his word was 
law in Padua. So when I wished to pay for the 
horses, having agreed to give fifty ducats for them, 
the owner said, " Illustrious master, I make you a 
present of the three horses." To this I answered, 
" This gift is not from you, and from the giver I 
will not accept it, for I have not been able to give 
him any of my work." The good man told me that 
if I did not take these horses, I should find no others 
in Padua, and should therefore be obliged to go on 
foot. Hearing this, I went back to the magnificent 
Messer Pietro, who pretended to know nothing of the 
matter. He only heaped kindness upon me, and 
begged me to stop in Padua. I was unwilling to 
consent, having fully made up my mind to go j so I 
was forced to accept the three horses, and with them 
I set off on my travels. 

xcv. I took the road through the Grisons, for none 


of the others were, safe on account of the war, and 
crossed the Albula'^'Und Bernina mountains. It was 
the 8th of May, but a great deal of snow lay on them 
still, and it was at the greatest peril of our lives we 
traversed these two mountain passes. On the other 
side we stopped at a place which, if I remember 
rightly, is called Wallenstadt,' and here we put up. 
That night there arrived a Florentine courier called 
Busbacca. I had heard him spoken of as a man of 
credit, and capable in his profession, and did not know 
he had fallen into disrepute by his rascally deeds. 
When he saw me at the inn, he called me by my 
name, told me he was going on important business 
to Lyons, and begged me to be kind enough to lend 
him money for the journey. I told him I had no 
money to lend him, but if he Hked to come with me, 
I would pay his way to Lyons. The rascal shed 
tears and cajoled me very cleverly, saying, "When 
it is a question of public importance, and a poor 
courier is in want of money, a man like you is bound 
to help him." Besides, he said, he was carrying 
things of the utmost consequence from Messer Filippo 
Strozzi. Now he had with him a leather case, and 
he whispered in my ear that in it was a silver beaker 
containing jewels to the value of many thousand 
ducats, besides the important letters from Messer 
Filippo Strozzi. Whereupon I said to him to let 
me hide the jewels on his person, which would be 
less dangerous than carrying them in that beaker, 
which he might hand over to me. It might be worth 
about ten crowns, I thought ; but I would give him 
five-and-twenty on it. At this the courier said he 
would come along with me, since he could not do 
better. To give up the cup would be to his discredit. 
So it was arranged ; and setting off next morning, 
we came to a lake between Wallenstadt and Wesen. 
This lake is fifteen miles long, with Wesen at one 
end of it. When I saw the boats on the water, I was 

4 ,. />/. : 


frightened, for they were made of pine trunks, not 
very large, and by no means solid, and neither nailed 
together nor tarred. And I had never ventured to 
embark on one, if I had not seen four German gentle- 
men with their four horses get into just such another. 
Indeed I w^ould sooner have turned back ; but I 
thought to myself, seeing their stupid indifference, 
these German waters do not drown you as do ours in 
Italy. But my two young lads said to me, " Ben- 
venuto, it is a perilous thing for us to get into this 
boat with four horses." " Don't you see," I replied, 
"you cowards, that those four gentlemen have done 
the like before us, and that they are going off laugh- 
ing ? If it were wine, I should say it was for the 
pleasure of boozing ; but since it is water, I know 
they do not want to be swallowed up in it any more 
than we do." The lake was fifteen miles long and 
about three wide. On one side was a very high 
mountain seamed with cavernous precipices, on the 
other a green plain. When we had gone about four 
miles a storm came up, and the rowers asked us to 
help with the oars. I signed to them to put us out 
on the farther bank, but they said it was not possible, 
for there was not water enough, and there were 
sand-banks which would wreck the boat and drown 
us all. Then again they begged us to assist them, 
and each man called to the other for help. Seeing 
them in this desperate condition, I put the bridle on 
the neck of my horse, a very clever animal, and took 
hold of the halter with my left hand. The creature, 
which had the intelligence of his kind, understood 
my meaning when I turned its face towards the fresh 
grass, namely, that he should swim and drag me along 
with him. Just then so huge a wave came up that 
our boat was under water. " Have mercy, my 
father !" called Ascanio; "help me !" He was just 
throwing himself upon me, when I put my hand to 
my dagger, and told them all they were to do as I had 


taught them, for the horses would save their lives, 
and I hoped to escape, too, by the same means. Then 
I told Ascanio that if he threw^ himself upon me 
again I should kill him. So we went on for several 
miles through this mortal peril. 

xcvi. When we had reached the middle of the lake, 
we found a bit of flat land where we could rest. 
And there I saw the four German gentlemen had 
landed. When we wished to do the same, the boat- 
men insisted we should do nothing of the kind. So 
I said to my lads, " Now is the time to show what 
we are made of. Out with your swords, and force 
them to land us ! " This we did with great diffi- 
culty, for they resisted all they could. When we 
were on land we had to climb for two miles up that 
mountain, which was harder than scaling a ladder. 
I was clad in mail, with big boots ; I had a gun in 
my hand, and God was raining down on us all the 
rain in heaven. Those devils of Germans, leading 
their little horses by the bridle, did wonders, while 
our beasts were useless at the thing, and we nearly 
died of the effort to make them climb the stiff 
mountain side. When we had got up some way, 
Ascanio's horse, a capital Hungarian mount, slipped 
in one of the bad places. Ascanio was a little in 
front of Busbacca, the courier, and he had given him 
his lance to carry. The horse went staggering back, 
unable to keep his feet, so that he fell on the lance 
which that rascal of a courier was carrying, and who 
had not the sense to keep it out of the creature's 
way. It went right through its neck. Another 
young fellow was coming to his help, but his horse 
also, a black one, slid down towards the lake. It got 
a hold for a moment on a bush which, however, was 
but too yielding. Now the creature was laden with 
a pair of saddle bags, in which was all my money and 
everything I had of value. I shouted to the lad to 
look out for himself and let the horse go to the 


devil. There was a fall of a mile down to where the 
mountain ran steep into the lake. Just under this place 
our boatmen were stationed, so that if the horse fell, 
it would be right on the top of them. I, in front, 
and the rest behind me, stood waiting the fall, for it 
seemed as if it were going to certain perdition. But 
as we stood there, I cried to the lads, " Don't 
trouble about anything I Let us save ourselves, and 
thank God for all ! For me, I am only sorry for 
that poor Busbacca, who tied his cup and his jewels, 
to the value of several thousand ducats, to that horse's 
saddle-bow, thinking it would be safer so. I had but 
a few hundred crowns, and I fear nothing in the 
world, so I be in the care of God." Here Busbacca 
said, " I am not troubling about my loss, but a great 
deal about yours." So I asked him, " Why are you 
concerned about my little, and not about all your 
own property ? " Then Busbacca answered, " In 
God's name I will tell you, for in such circum- 
stances and straits as ours we must tell the truth. I 
know that yours are crowns, and real crowns, but my 
goblet case, in which I said there were all those 
jewels, is filled with caviare." Hearing this, I could 
not help laughing, and my young fellows laughed 
also. But he wept. Meanwhile the horse righted 
itself when we thought it was all over with it. So, 
laughing, we pulled ourselves together again, and set 
forward up the mountain path. The four German 
gentlemen, who had got to the top of this steep 
mountain before us, sent back some men to help us, 
so that we reached the camping-place in the outer 
wild. We arrived there wet, weary, and dying of 
hunger ; but we were most kindly received, and we 
dried ourselves, rested, and satisfied our hunger, while 
our horse's wounds were dressed with certain herbs. 
They showed us what kind of herb to use. The 
hedges were full of it, and they told us that if we 
kept it continually on the sore, the creature would 


not only get better, but would serve us as if no harm 
had ever come to it. And wt did this. Having 
thanked the gentlemen, and being much restored, wq 
left the place and continued our journey, thanking 
God, who had saved us from such great dangers. 

xcvii. We reached a place beyond Wesen, where 
we rested for the night. Here at every hour the 
whole night through we heard a watchman singing 
most pleasingly. As all the houses of the town are 
built of pine wood, the watchman's only words were 
a warning against fire. Every time the watchman 
sang, Busbacca, whom the past day's happenings had 
somewhat unnerved, cried out in his sleep, " Alas, my 
God, I am drowning ! " This was partly due to 
yesterday's fright, and partly because he had got 
drunk in the evening; for he would sit drinking with 
all the Germans there. So sometimes he called out 
" I am on fire," and sometimes " I am drowning ; " 
and again he thought he was enduring the agonies of 
hell, with the caviare round his neck. 

We spent the evening so agreeably that all our 
hardships were turned to food for jests. In the 
morning we rose to a most lovely day, and went to 
dine at a gay little township called Lachen.' There 
we were splendidly entertained, and afterwards hired 
guides who were on their way back to the town of 
Zurich. Our guide walked along a dyke by the side 
of the lake, for it was the only road ; and even the 
dyke was covered with water, so that the fool slipped, 
and his horse and he both went under water. I, who. 
was just behind, stopped my horse and waited to see 
the brute get up. Then, as if nothing had happened, 
he began singing again, and signed to me to come 
on. I dashed off to the right, breaking through 
some hedges, and leading my lads and Busbacca after 
me. The guide shouted out in German that if the 
people about were to see me, they would murder me. 
But we pressed on and escaped that other storm, and 
XVtca^j(Ct//J'i 206 


arrived at Zurich, a marvellous city, vv^hich shines 
like a little jew^el. Here we rested a whole day and 
night, and next morning betimes we were off, and 
came to another fine city called Solothurn. "' From 
this we went on to Lausannef^ from Lausanne to 
Geneva, and from Geneva to Lyons, singing and 
laughing all the way. At Lyons I rested four days, 
and enjoyed myself very much with some friends of 
mine. Here also I was paid for what Busbacca had 
cost me. Then at the end of the time I took the 
road to Paris. It was a pleasant journey, save that 
when we reached La Palice, a band of brigands did 
their best to murder us, and it was not without some 
courage on our part that we got out of their hands. 
Thence we went forward to Paris without the least 
trouble in the world. Singing and laughing all the 
way, we reached our goal in safety. 

xcviii. Having rested for some time in Paris, I 
went to seek Rosso, the painter, who was in the service 
of the King. Now I looked on Rosso as the best 
friend I had in the world, for in Rome I had shown 
him the greatest kindness one man can show to another. 
These acts of kindness can be told in a few words ; 
and I will not fail to tell them, just to show his 
brazen-faced ingratitude. When he was in Rome, 
he had let loose his evil tongue about the works of 
Raffael of Urbino, so that the pupils of that great 
man determined to murder him. From this I saved 
him by guarding him night and day at the greatest 
trouble to myself. Again, he had slandered Maestro 
Antonio da San Gallo, a most excellent architect, and 
who was thus the cause of his losing a commission 
which he himself had got for Rosso from Messer 
Agnolo da Cesi. Afterwards Antonio became so set 
against him that he would have brought him to the 
point of starvation, if I had not lent him many a 
little sum of ten crowns to keep him alive. I had not 
seen a penny of it since, and knowing he was in the 



service of the King, I went, as I have said, to visit 
him, not so much because I thought of his return- 
ing my money, but that I might be helped by his 
favours into the King's service. 

When he saw me he got uneasy at once, and said, 
*'Benvenuto, you have spent too much on such a 
long journey, especially at a time when everybody's 
mind is full of war, and nobody has a thought for the 
trifling things of our profession." I told him I had 
brought as much money as would take me back again 
to Rome, in the same way I had now come to Paris ; 
that this was not what I expected to get in exchange 
for all the trouble I had taken for him, and that now 
I began to believe what Maestro Antonio da San 
Gallo had told me about him. He wanted to turn 
the thing off with a joke, when his villainy was brought 
home to him j but I showed him a letter of change 
for five and twenty crowns on Ricciardo del Bene. 
The rascal then was ashamed, and was for keeping 
me almost by force. But I laughed at him, and 
went off in the company of a painter who had been 
present at the interview. He was one Sguazzella, a 
Florentine, and I went to lodge in his house, with 
three horses and three servants, at so much a week. 
He entertained me very well, and I paid him still 

Afterwards I sought an audience of the King, and 
was introduced to him by a certain Messer Giuliano 
Buonaccorti, his treasurer. But this was after much 
delay ; for though I did not know it. Rosso was work- 
ing most zealously against my getting word with 
the King. When Messer Giuliano became aware 
of this, he took me at once to Fontainebleau, and 
brought me right into the presence of his Majesty, 
with whom I had a whole hour of most gracious 
audience. As he was then preparing to set out for 
Lyons, he told Messer Giuliano to take me with 
him, and that by the way we should talk together of 


some fine pieces of work which he was thinking 
of having carried out. So off I set with the court ; 
and on the road became very intimate with the 
Cardinal of Ferrara, who, however, had not then the 
hat. Every evening I had long talks with him, and 
his lordship advised me to remain in Lyons, at an 
abbey of his in that city j and there I might enjoy 
my leisure till the King, who was going on to 
Grenoble, should come back from the war. At 
this abbey I should have everything put at my 

As soon as we reached Lyons, I fell ill, and my 
young Ascanio had taken the quartan fever. By that 
time I was sick of the French and their court, and I 
longed to be back again in Rome. The Cardinal, 
seeing me so strongly inclined to return, gave me 
money to make him a silver basin and ewer. So we 
set our faces homewards, mounted on excellent horses, 
and crossed the Simplon, in the company of certain 
Frenchmen for some part of the way. The quartan 
fever still hung about Ascanio; and I had a low 
fever, which seemed as if it was never going to leave 
me. My stomach was so disordered, that for four 
months I don't believe I ate a whole loaf in the week. 
I was full of longing to go back to Italy ; for there I 
was fain to die rather than in France. 

xcix. When we had crossed the Simplon, we came 
to a river near a place called Valdivedro. This river 
was very wide and deep, and across it ran a long 
narrow bridge without a railing. That morning a 
thick white frost lay on the ground ; and when I 
came to the bridge in front of the others, I saw the 
place was very dangerous for riders, and so I ordered 
my apprentices and servants to get down and lead their 
horses by the bridle. Thus I crossed the bridge 
quite safely. By the way I fell into conversation 
with one of the Frenchmen, who was of gentle birth. 
The other, who was a notary, had remained behind, 


and was making fun of the French gentleman and 
myself, who, he declared, were frightened at nothing 
at all, since we had been at the pains of crossing on foot. 
At this I turned, and seeing him in the middle of the 
bridge, I begged him to come very cautiously, for he 
was in a very dangerous place. The man, like the 
true Frenchman that he was, cried out to me in his 
own tongue, that I was a poor-spirited fellow, and that 
there was no danger at all. Just as he said this, he 
pricked his spurs, and his horse slipped over the bridge, 
and fell, feet uppermost, near a huge rock in the 
water. But God has oftentimes pity of fools ; and 
both beasts, rider and horse, plunged into a great deep 
hole, where they disappeared. As soon as I saw this, 
I began running with the utmost speed, and with 
great difficulty chmbed on the rock. Dangling 
myself over it, I caught the skirt of the man's 
garment, and thus dragged him up from below the 
water. He had swallowed a great quantity, and in 
another moment would have been drowned. So seeing 
him out of danger, I congratulated him on my having 
saved his life. Whereupon he answered me in 
French, saying that I had done nothing at all ; that 
the things worth saving were his documents, which 
he valued at ever so many crowns ; and angry enough 
did he seem as he stood there dripping and grumbling 
and muttering. I turned to the guides, and ordered 
them to help the beast, promising that they should be 
paid. One of them set to the task very cleverly ; and 
with great trouble to himself, fished up the manu- 
scripts so that not one was lost. But the other guide 
would not take the least trouble in the matter. 

We had made up a purse, and I was the bursar : 
so as soon as we came to the place I have spoken of, 
and had dined, I gave some coins from the joint- 
purse to the guide who had helped to drag the man's 
property from the water. But the notary said that I 
might pay him with my own money ; for he did not 


mean to give him anything save vi^hat we had agreed 
on for his services. I retorted with vigorous abuse. 
Then came up the other guide, and demanded also to 
be paid. And when I said, " He who bears the cross 
deserves the prize," he answered that soon he would 
show me a cross which would be a weeping matter for 
me. And I replied that I would light a candle at 
that cross ; and perhaps he would carry it, when he 
went to do penance in a white sheet. 

Now the place where we were is on the confines of 
Venetian and German lands ; and the rascal ran 
about among the people and brought them back, he 
at the head of them, with a great boar-spear in his 
hand. I mounted on my good horse, and lowering 
my gun, I cried to my company, 'At my first shot 
he is a dead man ; and you others do your duty ; for 
these are highwaymen, and they are only making use 
of this little incident as a pretext to massacre us.*^ 
The host of the inn where we had dined called one 
of the head men, who was an old fellow, and begged 
him to put an end to the disturbance. 'For,* said 
he, ' this is a most brave young man, and though you 
cut him in pieces, yet would he kill a great number 
of you ; and, indeed, he is more likely to slip through 
your fingers after doing you a deal of mischief.* Sa 
the thing was calmed down, and the old chief said ta 
me, ' Go in peace. You would be all too few for us, 
even if you had a hundred men with you.* I knew 
he spoke the truth, and already I had given myself up 
for dead. But hearing no more insults cast at us, I 
shook my head, and said, 'I would have done my" 
uttermost to show I am alive and a man.' 

Then we went on our way. That evening at the 
first quarters we came to, we settled our accounts ;. 
and I took willing leave of the beastly French notary, 
parting on very friendly terms, however, with the 
other, who was a gentleman. Then, with only my 
own men and our horses, I came to Ferrara. 


As soon as I had dismounted, I went to the Duke's 
court to pay my respects to his Excellency, so that 
I might set out next morning towards Santa Maria 
da Loreto. I had waited till two hours after sundown, 
when at last the Duke appeared. I kissed his hands ; 
he gave me a kind reception, and ordered water to be 
brought for my hands, as I was to sup with him. 
But I answered pleasantly, "Most Excellent Signor, 
it is now more than four months since I have eaten 
as much as you would think enough to keep body 
and soul together. Therefore, as I cannot enjoy the 
royal fare at your table, I shall remain and talk with 
you while your Excellency sups 5 and thus we shall 
have more pleasure than if I supped with you." So 
we fell to talking, and at that we spent three hours ; 
after which I took my leave. On returning to my 
inn, I found splendid entertainment ready ; for the 
Duke had sent me food from his own table, with 
plenty of good wine. And as it was more than two 
hours beyond my supper hour, I ate with the greatest 
appetite ; and it was the first time for more than four 
months I had been able to do so. 

c. Setting off in the morning, I went to Santa Maria 
da Loreto. Then, having said my prayers, I made 
my way on to Rome, where I found my dear faithful 
Felice. I left him the shop with all the furniture 
and other belongings, and opened another, much 
larger and more spacious, next door to Sugherello the 
perfumer. I felt sure the great King Francis would 
have no more remembrance of me ; so I undertook 
many commissions for various noblemen, and at the 
same time I worked at the jug and basin which I 
had in hand for the Cardinal of Ferrara. I employed 
a great many workmen, and did a good business in 
gold and silver plate. Now I had bargained with 
my Perugian workman that he should write down all 
the moneys spent on his account, for clothes and 
various other things. With the expenses of the 


journey, it came to about seventy crowns. We had 
agreed that he should pay three crowns a month ; 
for he earned more than eight with me. At the end 
of two months the rascal ran ofF from my shop, 
leaving me burdened with business, and said that he 
would not pay me any more. So I was advised to 
get my rights by the way of the law. Now I had 
had it in my mind to chop ofF one of his arms ; and 
assuredly I should have done it ; but my friends 
thought it was not wise for me to do such a thing, 
seeing that I should lose my money, and perhaps 
Rome, too, once more ; for blows are not dealt by 
rule. Besides, they said, by means of the written 
agreement I had in his hand, I could soon have him 
imprisoned. So I gave heed to their advice — though 
I should have liked to have treated the business with 
a freer hand. When the case actually came on 
before the auditor of the Camera, I won it ; and as a 
result of the judgment, which, however, was not 
given for several months, I had him put in prison. 
Meanwhile I was overburdened in the shop with my 
big orders, amongst others all the gold ornaments and 
jewels belonging to the wife of Signor Gierolimo 
Orsino, father of Signor Paolo, and son-in-law of our 
Duke Cosimo. When these things were nearly com- 
pleted, other very important ones rained in. I had 
eight workmen, and I worked alongside them day 
and night, for honour and for profit. 

ci. While I was thus conducting my business, a 
letter reached me, sent post haste from the Cardinal 
of Ferrara, which was to this effect : — 

" Benvenuto^ our dear friend^ in these past days the 
great and most Christian King remembered you^ and 
said he would fain have you in his service. To this I 
answered^ that you had given me your promise that any 
time I sent for you on the King's service you would come 
at once, Thereupon his Majesty said^ ' / desire that 
H 213 


he should be provided with money to travel in a way 
befitting a man of his distinction,^ And on the spot he 
ordered his Admiral to advance me a thousand golden 
crowns out of the royal Treasury. The Cardinal de* 
Gaddi^ who was present during the conversation^ at 
once stepped forward^ and said to his Majesty that he 
need give no such order^for he had sent you money enough^ 
and that you were indeed upon the road. Now if by 
chance the truth^ as I believe^ be just the contrary of 
what the Cardinal de* Gaddi told us^ reply at once on 
receipt of my letter. Then I will pick up the thread 
of this business^ and will see that you have the money 
promised you by this generous King^"* 

Now let the world and every living man therein 
bear witness how evil stars and adverse fortune work 
against us mortals ! Not twice in all my life had I 
spoken to that wretched little imbecile of a Cardinal 
de' Gaddi ; and yet this arrogance of his was not 
meant to do me any harm in the world \ it was 
merely a piece of feather-brained conceit on his part, 
meant to show how he, too, had an eye on the affairs 
of the artists whom the King desired to have in his 
service, just as much as the Cardinal of Ferrara. But 
he was foolish enough not to say anything to me 
about it ; else certainly, so as to shield a silly puppet 
from blame — who was, after all, my countryman — I 
should have found some excuse to cover his blundering 

As soon as I received the letter of the most reverend 
Cardinal of Ferrara, I answered that, for the Cardinal 
de' Gaddi, I knew nothing about him at all ; that, 
indeed, if he had suggested such a thing, I should 
not have moved from Italy without the knowledge 
of his most reverend lordship, especially as in Rome 
I had a larger business than ever before. But, I 
added, at a sign from his most Christian Majesty, 
handed on by so high a personage as the Cardinal of 


Ferrara, I should leave at once, throwing everything 
else to the winds. When I had sent my letter, that 
faithless workman of mine bethought himself of an 
evil trick, which had an immediate success owing to 
the avarice of Pope Paul Farnese, though it owed 
still more to his bastard son, then called the Duke 
of Castro. This man told one of Signor Pier Luigi's 
secretaries that he had been in my service for several 
years, and assured him that he knew all about my 
affairs. So he swore I was worth more than eighty 
thousand ducats, the greater part of which was in 
jewels ; that these jewels were the property of the 
Church ; and that I had stolen them in the Castle 
of St. Angelo during the sack of Rome. They should 
see, said he, about having me caught at once before 
I got wind of their intention. 

One morning I had been working more than three 
hours before dawn on those things for the bride I 
have spoken of. While my servants were opening 
my shop and cleaning it, I put on my cloak and 
went to take a little walk. Going along the Strada 
Giulia, I came out at the Chiavica corner ; and 
there Crespino the Bargello, with all his men, came 
upon me. " You are the Pope's prisoner," said he ; 
to which I replied, " Crespino, you take me for some 
one else." "No," said Crespino, "you are Ben- 
venuto the artist. I know you quite well, and I 
have to take you to the Castle of St. Angelo ; for 
that's the place where lords and distinguished men 
like you are sent." Thereupon four of his corporals 
threw themselves on me, and would have taken my 
dagger from me by force, and some rings I wore on 
my finger ; but Crespino cried out, " Not one of 
you touch him ! Only do your duty, and see he docs 
not escape." Then approaching me, in courteous 
terms he asked for my weapons. While I was giving 
them up, the thought came over me that just in this 
place I had killed Pompeo. Thence they took mc 



to the castle, and locked mc into the top chamber 
in the donjon. This was the first time I ever had 
a taste of prison, and I was then thirty-seven years 

cii. The Pope's son, Signor Pier Luigi, having 
brooded over the great quantity of money which I was 
accused of stealing, asked his father, as a favour, to 
give it to him when it should have been recovered. 
The Pope conceded this willingly ; and, moreover, 
promised to help him to recover it. So I was kept in 
prison eight whole days ; and at the end of that time, 
to bring the thing to an issue, they sent me to be 
questioned. For this purpose, I was called into a 
hall of the Pope's castle, a place destined for great 
ceremonies. One of the examiners was the Governor 
of Rome, who was called Messer Benedetto Conver- 
sini, a Pistojan, afterwards Bishop of Jesi ; another 
was the Procurator - fiscal, whose name I don't re- 
member ; and the third was the Judge of the 
Criminal Court, Messer Benedetto da Cagli. First, 
these three men began their examination mildly ; 
but their language grew most harsh and threatening 
after I had said to them, " My lords, for the last half- 
hour you have been doing nothing but question me 
about cock-and-bull stories and such-like nonsense ; 
so that in truth your talk might not unjustly be 
called chatter or babble. For chattering is talking 
nonsense, isn't it ? And babbling is uttering empty 
words. Therefore I entreat you to tell me what 
you want of me, that I may hear reasonable words 
from your mouths, and not idle fables and rubbish of 
that kind." At this the Governor, who was a 
Pistojan, no longer able to hold in his violent temper, 
broke out, " You speak very confidently ; indeed, 
much too haughtily ; but I will make that haughti- 
ness of yours cringe lower than a shivering puppy, 
when you hear what I have to say — which will 
neither be chattering nor babbling, as you call it, 


but an ordered argument, to the consideration and 
the answering of which it will behove you to give 
your whole mind." And then he began : 

"We know for a certainty that you were in 
Rome during the sack of this unhappy city ; and at 
that time you were in the Castle of St. Angelo, and 
were employed as bombardier. And since your 
profession is that of goldsmith and jeweller, Pope 
Clement, because he had known you before, and 
because there were no others of your trade in the 
place, called you to a secret audience, and bade you 
take out all the jewels of his tiaras, mitres, and rings 
from their settings. Then, as he had confidence in 
you, he also ordered you to sew them into his 
garments. While about this business, unknown to 
his Holiness, you made away with property to the 
value of eighty thousand crowns. This has been 
reported to us by a workman of yours, to whom you 
confided it, boasting of the same. Now we say to 
you frankly : find the jewels, or the value of them. 
After that you may go free." 

ciii. When I heard these words I could not help 
breaking out into an explosion of laughter, which 
lasted for some little time. " I thank God heartily," 
I said, " that this first time it has pleased His High 
Majesty to imprison me, by good fortune I am not 
confined for some httle trifle, as generally happens to 
young men. Even if what you say were true, there 
is no danger at all of my being punished in my 
person ; for at the time you speak of, the law did 
not run. Or, if the facts were as you declare, I 
might excuse myself by saying that, in my capacity 
of dutiful servant, I had guarded this treasure for the 
sacred, holy Apostolic Church, waiting till I could 
give it back to a good pope, or, indeed, to whoever 
should request its return, as, for instance, you." 
Here that ferocious Pistojan refused to listen to 
another word, but broke in furiously, " Put what 


meaning on your villainy you please, Benvenuto ; 
enough for us to have found our own. And now 
out with it, if you don't want something else from 
us besides words." As they were getting up to go 
away, I said, "I have not yet been fully examined. 
Finish that, and then go whenever you please." So 
they sat down again, much enraged, and in a humour 
to listen to nothing I should say. Yet much of their 
anxiety was gone ; for they thought, perhaps, they 
had found out all they wished to know. So I began 
to speak to them after this fashion : " You must know, 
my lords, that I have lived in Rome nearly twenty 
years, and have never been imprisoned, neither here 
nor elsewhere." At this the jack-in-office governor 
called out, "Yet you have murdered men of our 
city." To which I answered, "You say so. I 
make no such admission ; for if a man was to try to 
kill you, priest though you are, you would defend 
yourself; and having killed him, the holy laws would 
hold you innocent. So let me say what I have to 
say, if you would refer the matter to the Pope, and 
judge me aright. I tell you once more, that for 
nearly twenty years I have been living in this 
marvellous city of Rome, and here I have carried out 
most important work in my profession. I know 
that this is the seat of Christ, and I had sure con- 
fidence that, if ever a temporal prince were to wrong 
me, I should have recourse to this holy chair and 
the Vicar of Christ, and he would defend my rights. 
Alas ! what refuge have I now ? And who is the 
prince who will defend me from such infamous 
wrong ? Before arresting me, should you not have 
found out how I disposed of those eighty thousand 
ducats ? Also, should you not have looked at the 
record of the jewels which the Apostolic Camera 
has carefully kept for five hundred years to this day ? 
If you had found a gap in it, then you should have 
seized all my books as well as myself. I assure you 


that the books in which are recorded all the jewels of 
the Pope and the regalia are quite in order, and there 
is not a single gem belonging to Pope Clement 
which has not been carefully entered. Only one 
thing I can think of which might give colour to 
your proceedings. When Pope Clement was 
making terms with those Imperial thieves, who had 
pillaged Rome and outraged the Church, a man 
came to negotiate the terms of peace, whose name, 
if I rightly remember, was Cesare Iscatinaro. When 
he had almost concluded the treaty, the poor Pope, 
in desperation, and desiring to show him a Httle 
kindness, let fall from his finger a diamond ring 
worth about four thousand crowns. Iscatinaro 
stooped to pick it up, and the Pope bade him keep it 
for his sake. I was present at the time ; and if the 
diamond be missing, I am now telling you where it 
has gone ; but I have a sure conviction that this also 
will be found recorded. Therefore, you should be 
ashamed to persecute a man like me, who have 
served this apostolic seat so honourably. Do you 
not know, that had it not been for me, when the 
Imperial troops entered the Borgo, they would have 
made their way into the castle without the least 
hindrance ? But I, who never got anything for my 
valorous conduct, betook myself vigorously to the 
guns, which the bombardiers and soldiers had 
abandoned ; and put heart into a comrade of mine, 
Raffaello da Montelupo, the sculptor, who had also 
given up, and was hiding frightened and useless in a 
corner. I shook life into him ; and he and I by 
ourselves slew so many of the enemy that the soldiers 
went by another way. It was I who gave Iscatinaro 
a taste of my powder, when I saw him speaking 
with Pope Clement without doing reverence, 
displaying, indeed, the most boorish insolence, like 
the Lutheran and infidel he was. Pope Clement, 
hearing of the affair, had the castle searched to find 


who had fired the shot, meaning to hang him. 
Then it was I who wounded the Prince of Orange, 
hitting him on the head below here in the trenches 
of the castle. Then think of all I have done for 
Holy Church ; consider the great number of orna- 
ments of silver and gold and jewels I have made, and 
all the beautiful coins, too, which have received such 
praise. And priests like you dare give this reward 
to a man who has served you with such skill, and 
loved with such good faith ! Now go and tell all I 
have said to the Pope : that, as to his jewels, he has 
them all ; that I never had anything from the 
Church save the wounds from the enemy's guns 
during the sack -, and that I never counted on 
anything, save some small recompense from Pope 
Paul, which he had promised me. Now am I clear 
in my mind about his Holiness, and about you, his 

While I was speaking these words, they remained 
listening in astonishment. They looked in each 
other's faces, and then in much wonderment they left 
me. All three went away together to report to the 
Pope what I had said. Somewhat ashamed, his 
Holiness ordered all the records of the jewels to be 
examined with the utmost care. But after it was 
seen that nothing was missing, they left me still in 
the castle without saying anything more. And 
Signor Pier Luigi, too, had a bad conscience. There- 
fore they sought to compass my death. 

civ. While these agitated days were passing. King 
Francis heard all about the Pope's keeping me in 
prison so unjustly. He had sent as ambassador to 
Rome one of his gentlemen called Monseigneur de 
Montluc. Now he wrote to him to ask me from 
the Pope as one of his Majesty's men. The Pope 
was a very able and accomplished man, but in this 
affair of mine he behaved like a poor weak fool ; and 
he now replied to the King's messenger that his 


Majesty should not trouble about me, for I was a 
very quarrelsome fellow. He warned him to let me 
alone ; for he was keeping me in prison for homicide 
and other devilries I had committed. Again the 
King wrote, that in his kingdom strict justice reigned ; 
and as he rewarded distinguished men, heaping on 
them extraordinary favours, so, on the other hand, 
did he punish disturbers of the peace. Likewise, his 
Holiness had once let Benvenuto go away, not caring 
for his service ; and when he (King Francis) found 
him in his kingdom, he had gladly taken him into 
his employment. Now he asked for him as his man. 
These words brought only endless vexation and 
harm to me, although no higher compliment could 
have been paid to a man of my condition. But the 
Pope got into such a fury, fearing lest I should go 
and disclose his villainous treatment of me, that he 
kept thinking of all the possible ways whereby he 
could bring about my death, without injuring his 
own repute. The keeper of the Castle of St. 
Angelo was one of our Florentines, Messer Giorgio, 
a knight, and one of the Ugolini. This worthy 
man showed me the greatest courtesy possible, leaving 
me free to wander about the castle on parole. He 
was very sensible of the great wrong that was being 
done to me ; and when I wished to give security for 
this freedom, he said he could not accept it. The 
Pope was exaggerating this affair of mine, he de- 
clared J but he would fully trust my word, for he 
heard from every one that I was an honest man. 
I gave him my word of honour, and he allowed me 
the means of working a Httle at my own craft. 
Meanwhile, thinking that the Pope's anger must 
blow over, having regard to my innocence, and also 
to the favour of the King, I kept my shop open, 
and Ascanio, my apprentice, came to the castle 
and brought me things to work at. And though 
I could work but little — hindered as I was by the 
H * 221 


thought of being thus unjustly shut up — still I made 
a virtue of necessity, and, as cheerfully as I could, 
bore with my perverse fortune. I had made friends 
with all the guards and many of the soldiers of the 
castle. Now the Pope used sometimes to come to 
sup within the walls ; and at such times there were 
no guards at the doors, which stood open like those 
of an ordinary palace. For that reason, while his 
Holiness was within, the prisoners used to be 
locked up with the greatest care. But nothing of 
the kind was done to me, and I used freely to 
walk about the castle. Often some of the soldiers 
would advise me to escape, promising to help me, 
for they knew the great wrong done to me. To 
such suggestions I always replied that I had given 
my word to the castellan, who was a very good 
fellow, and had shown me great kindness. One of 
them, a very brave and intelligent man, would then 
say to me, " Benvenuto my friend, you must know 
that a man in prison is not obliged, nor can be obliged, 
to keep faith or anything else. Do as I tell you ; 
flee from this scoundrel of a Pope and his bastard 
son, who will come at your life by some means or 
another." But I was determined rather to lose my 
life than break my word to the honest castellan. So 
I put up with this indescribable annoyance. The com- 
panion of my misfortune was, I should say, a friar of 
the Pallavicini house, who was a very great preacher, 
cv. This man had been seized as a Lutheran. He 
was an excellent comrade ; but regarded as a friar, the 
greatest rascal in the world, one who indulged in all 
kinds of vices. I admired his fine talents, but greatly 
abhorred his ugly vices, and frankly reproved him for 
them. He was always telling me I was not obliged 
to keep faith with the castellan, since I was in prison. 
I answered him that as a friar he spoke the truth, 
but not as a man ; and that whoever was a man, and 
no friar, had to keep faith in whatever circumstances 


he might find himself. So I, who was a man and no 
friar, would never be false to my bare word given in 
honour. Finding he could not corrupt me by his 
shrewd and sophisticated arguments, and his wonder- 
ful art in stating them, he thought to tempt me by 
other means. So he let several days pass, during 
which he read to me the sermons of Giroiamo 
Savonarola, his admirable commentary on these being 
finer than the sermons themselves. I was so fasci- 
nated by this, that there was nothing in the world I 
would not have done for him, save break my word, 
as I have said. When he saw my great admiration 
for his talents, he thought of another way. Insinu- 
atingly he began to ask me, what would have been 
my method of opening my doors and escaping, in 
the case of their having locked me up, and always 
supposing, of course, I had been wilHng for the 
attempt. So wishing to show this clever friar that 
I, too, was rather keen-witted, I told him I could 
easily open the most difficult lock, and more 
especially those of this prison. It would be no 
harder than eating a bit of fresh cheese. Then, to 
force my secret out of me, he threw doubt on this, 
saying, "Men who have the name of being clever 
make many a boast, which if they had to prove, 
would lose them credit, and be much to their 
disadvantage." And he had heard me say things so 
for from the truth, he went on, that if I were 
tested, he thought I should come badly out of the 
affair. Then, stung by this devil of a friar, I told 
him that my habit was to promise less in words than 
what I could actually perform ; and for this matter 
of the keys I had spoken of, it was the easiest thing 
in the world ; and in a few words I could make him 
see perfectly that it was as I said. Then, thought- 
lessly, I proved with what ease all I had told him 
could be carried into effect. The friar pretended to 
pay no attention, but he soon learnt all with perfect 


intelligence. As I have already said, the honest 
castellan let me wander through all the castle, not 
even locking me up during the night, as was done 
with the others. Also he let me work in gold, or 
silver, or wax, at whatever I wished. Thus for 
several weeks I employed myself on a basin I was 
making for the Cardinal of Ferrara. But I grew so 
weary of my prison that this began to be burden- 
some ; and so after that, as it was less trouble, I took 
to modelHng little figures in wax. The friar stole a 
piece of this wax from me ; and with it he set about 
having the keys made according to the method I had 
thoughtlessly taught him. As an accomplice in this 
he had taken a notary of the castellan's household, a 
Paduan called Luigi. But the friar ordered the keys 
to be made by a locksmith, who told all. Now the 
castellan came sometimes to see me in my room, and 
when he saw me working with wax, he recognised 
it as the same, and said, "Though this poor Ben- 
venuto has been most deeply wronged, he should not 
have done such a thing to me, for I have shown him 
more kindness than my duty allowed me. Now I 
shall keep him most strictly locked up, and shall 
never do him kindness any more." So he had me 
shut up with the utmost severity ; but the worst I 
had to endure were the words thrown at me by some 
of his affectionate servants. Before they had been 
very much attached to me, but now they cast up 
all the kind deeds done me by their master, and, 
indeed, called me an ungrateful, Hght- minded, and 
faithless fellow. Now one of these servants launched 
this abuse at me with more boldness than was 
seemly ; and assured as I was of my innocence, I 
answered with heat that I had never broken my 
word, and this I should maintain with my life's 
blood ; and if he or any one else ever did me sucn 
injustice again, I should fling the lie back in his 
throat. Beside himself at this reprimand, he ran to 


the castellan's apartment, and brought me the 
wax and the model of the key. As soon as I saw 
the wax, I told him that both of us were right, 
but he was to bring me to speech with the lord 
castellan, and I should tell him frankly how the case 
stood ; for the matter was of much greater importance 
than they thought. The castellan sent for me at 
once, and I told him the whole story. So he seized 
the friar, who informed against his accomplice, and 
the notary was nearly being hanged. The castellan 
tried to hush up the thing, but already it had come 
to the ears of the Pope. The notary escaped the 
gallows ; and I was given the same liberty as at the 

cvi. When I saw with what vigour they followed 
the thing up, I began to think of my own interests, 
and said, " If a hurricane Hke this should arise another 
time, and if this man again distrusted me, I should 
no longer think myself under any obligation, but 
should set my wits a-working ; for I am certain I 
could succeed better than that rascal of a friar." 
Then I ordered new coarse sheets to be brought 
me from outside ; and I did not send away the soiled 
ones. When my servants asked me for them, I told 
them to be quiet about it, for I had given them to 
some needy soldiers ; but that if the thing were 
known, the poor fellows ran the risk of the galleys. 
So my young apprentices and servants — but especially 
Felice — kept the affair of the sheets absolutely secret. 
Then I set about emptying a straw mattress, burning 
the straw, which, luckily, I could do, for in my prison 
was a chimney, and I could light a fire. The sheets 
I tore into strips, the third of a cubit in width. 
When I had torn up enough, as I thought, to enable 
me to descend from the high keep of the Castle 
of St. Angelo, I said to my servants that I had 
given away all I wished ; that now they must 
bring me finer sheets, and I should always return 


to them the soiled ones. This thing was soon 

Now Cardinals Santiquattro and Cornaro forced 
my servants to shut up the shop. They told me 
frankly that the Pope would not hear a word of my 
release, and that the great favours of the King had 
done me more harm than good. The last message 
that Monsignor de Montluc sent to his Holiness on 
the part of the King, had been to the effect that I 
should be handed over to the ordinary judges of the 
court. Then, if I had sinned, he could punish me ; 
but if I had not, justice demanded that he should let 
me go free. These words had so annoyed the Pope 
that it was in his mind not to release me any more. 
But the castellan most certainly helped me all he 
could. Now when my enemies saw my shop shut 
up, they used to sneer at and insult such servants and 
friends of mine as came to visit me in prison. It 
happened one day that Ascanio, who came twice 
every day to see me, asked me to have a Httle coat 
made for him out of a blue satin vest of mine, which 
I never wore. I had only used it the day I walked 
in procession. But I told him this was not a time, 
nor was I in a place, to wear such garments. The 
boy was so oiFended I did not give him this miserable 
little vest, that he said he wanted to go away home to 
Taghacozzo. In a great rage, I retorted that I 
should be much pleased to be rid of him ; and he 
swore with the greatest heat never to come back any 
more. During our altercation we were walking 
round the donjon of the castle. It happened that 
the castellan was also taking a walk, and just as we 
came up against his lordship, Ascanio was saying, 
" I go then, and adieu for evermore ! " To which 
I answered, " For ever is the word — so let it be ! I 
shall tell the guards never to let you pass again." 
Then turning to the castellan, I begged him most 
earnestly to order the guards never to let Ascanio 


come through any more. " For," I said, " this little 
rustic only comes to fill up my cup of sorrow to 
overflowing. So I entreat you, my lord, let him 
never enter more." The castellan was much dis- 
tressed, for he knew the boy to be wonderfully 
talented, and, besides, he was of so fair a shape that 
no one could see him without falling deeply in love 
with him. The lad went away weeping. He was 
carrying, I must tell you, a little scimitar, which 
sometimes he wore secretly under his garments. 
When he left the castle, his face all tear-stained, he 
met with two of my worst enemies. One of them 
was Jeronimo the Perugian, and the other was called 
Michele ; and they were both goltismiths. Michele, 
who was a friend of that rascally Perugian, and none 
to Ascanio, said, " What is the meaning of Ascanio 
weeping ? Perhaps his father is dead. I mean that 
father of his in the castle." Whereupon the boy 
replied, " He is alive, but you're a dead man ! " and 
lifting his hand, he struck twice at the man's head 
with his scimitar. At the first blow he knocked 
him down ; with the second he cut ofF three fingers 
of his right hand, though he had aimed at his head ; 
and the fellow lay there for dead. The affair was 
reported at once to the Pope, who cried in great 
wrath, "Since the King wishes Benvenuto to be 
judged, go and tell him he has three days to prepare 
his case." They made haste to fulfil his order ; 
whereupon that worthy man the castellan went off 
at once to his Holiness, and made it clear to him 
that I was not cognisant of the thing, that, in fact, 
I had just chased the boy away. So admirably did 
he defend me that he saved my life in the great 
storm that raged about me. Ascanio fled home to 
Tagliacozzo ; and from there he wrote asking my 
pardon a thousand times, saying he knew he had 
been wrong to add to my vexations and my great 
trouble. But, he went on, if by God's grace I got 


out of prison, he would never leave me any more. I 
sent him word that he was to go on learning his 
trade ; and I promised, if God ever gave me my 
liberty, I should certainly call him back to me. 

cvii. The castellan was every year the victim of 
a certain infirmity which bereft him of his wits. 
When it was coming on, he would speak, or rather 
he would chatter without stopping. These humours 
of his varied every year. One time he thought he 
was an oil jar ; another time a frog, and then he 
jumped just hke one. Again he thought he was 
dead, and he had to be buried. Thus each year he 
had a different delusion. Now this time he began 
to imagine that he was a bat ; and when he went for 
a walk, he would every now and then give a low 
scream as bats do, and flutter his hands and his body 
as if he were going to fly. When his doctors and 
his old servants saw the malady upon him, they 
indulged him in every possible way ; and since it 
seemed to them he took great pleasure in hearing 
me talk, they were always fetching me to keep him 
company. And the poor man sometimes kept mc 
four or five hours talking to him the whole time. 
He had me sit opposite him at table, and he never 
stopped talking and making me talk. In spite of all 
this conversation I ate well ; but he, poor man, 
neither ate nor slept. Now all this tired me out, so 
that I was at the end of my forces. And some- 
times when I looked at him, his eyes were terrible to 
see, one turning one way and one the other. One 
day he asked me if I had ever had a fancy to fly. I 
answered that I had always been most eager to do, 
and had done, such things as come hardest to men ; 
and as for flying, the God of Nature had given me a 
body more than usually agile and fit for running and 
leaping j and so by the aid of what little wits I 
possessed, I could manage some kind of mechanical 
contrivance ; and certainly I did not want courage 


for the attempt. Then he began to ask me what 
methods I should use ; to which I answered, that if 
we observed the flying creatures, the one whose 
natural powers could best be imitated by art was 
the bat. When the poor man heard that name 
of bat, the mimicry of which was the form his 
mania took that year, he cried with a loud voice, 
saying, " He speaks the truth, he speaks the truth ! 
That's the thing — the very thing ! " Then turning 
to me, he said, " Benvenuto, if you had the chance, 
would you have the courage to fly ? " Thereupon 
I said that, if he would give me my liberty, I had 
pluck enough to fly as far as Prati, and would make 
myself a pair of wings out of waxed linen for the 
purpose. Then he answered, "And I, too, should 
not be behindhand ; but the Pope has commanded 
me to look after you as the apple of his eye ; and I 
know you are a clever enough devil to make your 
escape. Therefore I am going to lock you up 
with a hundred keys, so that you don't make oiF." 
I entreated him, reminding him how I had had op- 
portunities of escape, but that, for the sake of the 
word I had given him, I had never broken faith. 
Then I begged him, for the love of God, not to add 
a greater misery to what I was now suffering. But 
even while I was speaking, he gave strict orders for 
me to be bound and taken to my prison, and there 
securely locked up. Seeing there was no help for 
it, I said to him, in the presence of his household, 
"Make fast your locks and watch me well, for I 
shall get out of here one way or another." Then 
they led me off, and shut me up with the greatest 

cviii. From that moment I set to thinking about 
the best means of escape. As soon as they had shut 
the door on me, I went about examining thw prison 
where I lay. When I believed I had certainly 
found a way of getting out, I began to devise a 


means of climbing down from the high castle keep. 
Then I took those new sheets of mine, which, as I 
have already said, I had torn into strips and well 
sewn together, and calculated what length would 
serve me to climb down by. When I had made up 
my mind about this, and prepared everything, I laid 
my hands on a pair of pincers, which I had stolen 
from a Savoyard warder of the castle. This man 
looked after the barrels and the cisterns ; and he also 
worked at carpentering for his pleasure. Now he 
had several pincers, and amongst them some huge 
solid ones. Just my affair, I thought ; and I stole 
them, and hid them in the mattress. Then the time 
came for me to use the tool, and I began to try the 
nails of the hinges. As the door was a double one, 
the riveting of the nails could not be seen, so that 
when I tried to draw one out, it gave me the greatest 
trouble ; but in the end I succeeded. When I had 
drawn out the first nail, I bethought me how I 
should contrive that this should not be seen. I 
managed it by mixing some little rusty iron filings 
with a little wax, getting just the very colour of 
those long nails I had taken out. With this I 
began carefully imitating the nails in the supports of 
the hinges ; and by degrees made a waxen counter- 
feit for every one I drew out. I left the hinges still 
attached at top and bottom with some of the old 
nails, which, however, I only put back after they had 
been cut, and then only lightly, so that they just 
held the hinge-plates and no more. This business 
gave me a deal of trouble ; for the castellan dreamt 
each night that I had escaped, and every now and 
then he sent to have my prison examined. The 
man who came to investigate had a bum-bailiiF*s 
name, Bozza, and behaved as such. He always 
brought with him another fellow called Giovanni, 
surnamed Pedignone. He was a soldier, and Bozza 
was a menial. This Giovanni never once came to 


my prison without insulting me. He was from 
Prato, where he had been an apothecary. Every 
evening he examined the hinges and the whole 
prison very carefully ; and I would say to him, " Keep 
a good look-out on me, for I am going to slip 
through your hands for a certainty." These words 
stirred up a furious hatred between him and me. 
So with the utmost care I hid up my implements, 
that is, the pincers, a large dagger, and other things 
pertaining to my plan, in my mattress, along with 
the strips I had made. As soon as daylight came 
I used to sweep my room ; and though by nature I 
like cleanliness, I kept my place in specially good 
order then. When I had done my sweeping, I 
arranged my bed beautifully, and laid flowers on it, 
which I had a certain Savoyard bring me almost 
every morning. This was the Savoyard who had 
charge of the cisterns and barrels, and who worked 
at carpentering for his pleasure. It was from him 
I stole the pincers with which I picked out the nails 
from the hinge-plates. 

cix. Now to return to what I was saying about 
my bed. When Bozza and Pedignone came in, I 
told them they were to keep at a due distance from 
it, that they might not foul and spoil it. When 
sometimes, just to annoy me, they would touch it 
lightly, I would cry to them, "Oh, you dirty cowards ! 
I'll get hold of those swords of yours, and serve 
you a turn that will astonish you ! Do you think 
yourselves good enough to touch the bed of a man of 
my sort ? No care for my own life shall hold me 
back, for I am sure to take yours. So leave me alone 
with my troubles and my tribulations, and don't add 
to them ; otherwise, I'll let you see what a desperate 
man can do." All this they told to the castellan. 
But he expressly ordered them not to go near my 
bed, and to come to me without their swords ; for 
the rest, they were to keep a sharp look-out on me. 


When I was thus sure about the bed, I thought 
I had done everything, for therein lay what I needed 
most for the business. One feast night, when the 
castellan was feeling very ill, and his humours were 
at their height, he kept on saying that he was a bat ; 
and if they heard that Benvenuto had flown away, 
they were to let him go, for he would overtake me, 
since at night-time he could certainly fly better than 
I. "Benvenuto," said he, "is only a sham bat, but 
Pm a real one. And since he's been given into my 
keeping, leave the business to me, for I'll come up 
with him." He had been in this condition for several 
nights, and had tired out all his servants. And 
I heard about it through different channels, but ] 
especially from the Savoyard, who was a friend of 
mine. This feast-day evening I had made up my 
mind to escape at all hazards. First I prayed most 
devoutly to God, entreating His Divine Majesty to 
defend me, and aid me in my perilous enterprise. 
Then I prepared everything I needed for the business, 
working all through that night. When day was but 
two hours off^, I removed the hinges with the greatest 
trouble. But the wooden frame and the bolt also 
resisted, so that I could not open the door, and had, 
therefore, to cut the wood. At last I succeeded ; 
and then carrying the strips of linen, which I had 
rolled round two pieces of wood like flax on a spindle, 
I made my way out towards the privies of the keep. 
From inside I perceived two tiles on the roof, and . 
thus I could cHmb up at once with the greatest f 
ease. I was wearing at the time a white jerkin, 
white hosen, and a pair of buskins, into which I 
thrust my dagger. Taking one end of my linen 
rope, I tied it in the form of a stirrup round a piece of 
antique tile, which was built into the wall, and which 
stuck out hardly the length of four fingers. This 
done, I turned my face to God, and said, " O Lord 
my God, defend my cause ! for Thou knowest it is 


good ; and that I help myself." Then I let myself 
go gently, and supporting myself by the strength of 
my arms, I reached the bottom. The moon was not 
shining, but the sky was fair and clear. When my 
feet were on the ground, I regarded the great descent 
I had made so bravely, and went off much heartened, 
for I thought I was free. But it was not so ; for on 
that side the castellan had had two very high walls 
built enclosing a poultry -run. This place was 
barred with great bolts on the other side. When I 
saw my way thus stopped, I was much vexed ; but 
while walking to and fro, thinking what I should 
best do, I fell up against a large beam which had 
been covered up with straw. With great difficulty I 
set it up against the wall. Then by force of arm 
I climbed up on it to the top. But as the wall was 
pointed, I was not solidly enough placed there to 
draw the pole up after me. So I determined to use a 
piece of the second rope of linen, as the other I had 
left hanging from the keep. Well, binding it fast 
to the beam, I climbed down by it on the other side. 
This was very far from easy. I was quite worn out 
at the end ; and, besides, I had galled the palms of my 
hands, so that they bled. I therefore stayed to rest a 
while, and bathed my hands in my own urine. When 
I felt sufficiently recovered, I made my way to the 
last wall, which looks towards Prati. There I laid 
down my linen rope, intending to fix it to a battle- 
ment, and get down from the lesser height as I had 
done from the greater. But just at that moment I 
discovered that behind me was one of the sentinels 
on duty. Seeing here a hindrance to my plans, and 
knowing my life in danger, I made up my mind 
boldly to face the guard, who, perceiving my resolute 
demeanour, and that I was coming towards him with 
a weapon in my hand, quickened his step, and made 
as if to keep out of my way. I had left my ropes 
some way off; now I quickly turned back for them, 



and though I saw another sentinel, yet he appeared 
unwilling to see me. When I had picked up my 
linen ropes, I tied them to the battlement, and let 
myself go. But either I thought that I had almost 
reached the ground, while I was still some distance 
off, and let go my hands and jumped ; or else my 
hands were too feeble to keep up the effort. At all 
events I fell, and in falling, I struck the back of my 
head, and lay there unconscious more than an hour 
and a half, so far as I could judge. The day was 
about to break, and the fresh, cool air that comes 
before the rising of the sun brought me to my senses ; 
but yet my wits were not quite clear, for I thought 
my head was cut off, and that I was in purgatory. 
Little by little my powers came back to me, and I 
saw that I was outside the castle, and had a sudden 
remembrance of all I had done. Now I felt the 
hurt to my head before I perceived that my leg was 
broken ; for putting up my hands, I found them all 
covered with blood. But examining the place 
thoroughly, I came to the conclusion that the wound 
was not serious. When, however, I wanted to 
get up from the ground, I found my right leg 
broken three inches above the knee. But even this 
did not discourage me. I drew out my dagger in 
its sheath, at the end of which was a large ball. 
This it was which had broken my leg ; for the bone 
had been jammed against the ball, and unable to 
bend, had snapped just there. So I threw away the 
sheath ; and with the dagger I cut off a piece of the 
remainder of the linen strip, and as well as I could 
bound up my leg. Then, my weapon in my hand, 
I crept on all fours towards the gate. I reached it 
only to find it shut ; but I saw a stone just under 
the door, and as I thought it was probably not stuck 
very fast, I tried to move it. Putting my hands to 
it, I felt it move ; it yielded at once, and I drew it out. 
Then I crawled through the hole it had stopped up. 



ex. There had been more than five hundred paces 
from the place where I fell, to the gate by which I 
entered the city. When I got inside Rome, some 
mastiffs threw themselves on me and bit me viciously. 
They set on me several times and worried me, till at 
last I drew my dagger and dealt one of them such a 
blow that he yelped loudly. Then the other dogs, as 
their habit is, gathered about him, while I made haste, 
on hands and knees, towards the church of the Tras- 
pontina. When I reached the mouth of the street 
which turns towards Sant' Agnolo, I took the road 
to St. Peter's ; for day was breaking above me, and I 
knew I was in danger. So meeting a water-carrier 
with his ass laden with full pitchers, I called him to 
me, and begged him to lift me up and carry me to 
the terrace by St. Peter's steps ; explaining that I was 
a poor young man who, in getting down from the 
window of my lady, had fallen and broken my leg. 
The house I came out of was of great importance, I 
told him, and I was in danger of being cut in pieces. 
So I begged him to carry me off quickly, promising 
him a golden crown for his pains. And at the word 
I gave him a sight of my purse, which was by no 
means empty. He took hold of me at once, hoisted 
me on his back with a good will, and carried me 
to the open space above the steps of St. Peter's. 
There he put me down, and I told him to run back 
to his ass. At once I took the road again, crawling 
on all fours towards the house of the Duchess, the 
wife of Duke Ottavio. She was the natural daughter 
of the Emperor, and had been the wife of Duke 
Alessandro of Florence. Now I knew that with this 
great princess I should find many of my friends, who 
had come with her from Florence. Besides, I was 
in her favour, for the castellan had spoken well of me 
in her presence. Wishing to help me, he had said to 
the Pope one day, that when the Duchess made her 
entry into Rome, I had saved them more than a 


thousand crowns. The heavy rain had threatened 
great damage to the city j and he had been in despair. 
But I had put heart into him ; for, as he told, I had 
pointed several heavy pieces of artillery tow^ards that 
part of the sky where the clouds were thickest, and 
from whence torrents of water had already begun to 
pour. When the artillery was discharged, the rain 
stopped, and at the fourth round the sun came out. 
Thus, said he, I had been the sole cause of the festa 
passing ofF so happily. When the Duchess heard it, 
she said, " This Benvenuto is one of the artists who 
were in the good graces of my husband, Duke 
Alessandro ; and I shall always keep them in mind 
when an opportunity comes to do them a good turn." 
She had also spoken of me to her present husband, 
Duke Ottavio. 

So now I made straight for the house of her 
Excellency, a very fine palace in Borgo Vecchio. 
And there I should have been quite safe, and the 
Pope could not have touched me. But as the thing 
I had done was beyond the powers of an ordinary 
human creature, God wished to check my vainglory 
through a still harder discipline than I had known in 
the past. And this was how it came about. While 
I was creeping on all fours up the steps, a servant of 
Cardinal Cornaro's household recognised me. Now, 
as it happened, the Cardinal was lodging in the 
palace, and the servant ran to his master's room, and 
waking him, said, " Most reverend monsignor, your 
Benvenuto is below. He has escaped from the castle, 
and is crawling along on hands and knees, and covered 
with blood. It looks as if he had broken his leg, and 
we do not know where he is going." The Cardinal 
said at once, "Run and carry him into my room 
here." When I was brought to him, he told me to 
have no fear. Then he sent at once for the best 
doctors in Rome, and by them I was treated. One 
of them was Maestro Jacomo of Perugia, a most 


excellent surgeon. He set my leg very skilfully, 
then bandaged it, and with his own hand bled me. 
My veins were unusually swollen, and, besides, he 
wished to make a rather large incision ; so the blood 
sputtered furiously out in his face, and bespattered 
h»m so abundantly that he had to stop his operations. 
This he took to be a very bad augury ; and it was 
with great reluctance that he went on treating me. 
Several times, in truth, he would fain have left me, 
remembering that he was risking no slight penalty in 
doctoring me, or at least in continuing his attendance. 
The Cardinal had me put in a secret chamber, and 
went off at once to the palace to beg me from the 

cxi. Meanwhile Rome was in the greatest excite- 
ment; for already the linen strips hanging from the 
great tower of the castle had been discovered, and 
every one ran to see the marvel. The castellan was 
overcome by one of his maddest humours ; and was 
determined, in defiance of all his servants, to fly 
down, too, from the keep ; for, said he, the only way 
of catching me was for himself to fly after me. 
Messer Ruberto Pucci, the father of Messer Pandolfo, 
having heard of the wonder, went to see for himself. 
Afterwards he repaired to the palace, where he met 
Cardinal Cornaro, who told him the whole story, and 
how I was in one of his apartments, and already under 
treatment. Together these two worthy men went 
and knelt before the Pope. Before they could utter 
a word, he cut in with, " I know all you want of me.'* 
Then answered Messer Ruberto Pucci, " Most Holy 
Father, we entreat of your mercy to give up that 
poor man to us, who for his great talents merits some 
considerate treatment, and who, besides, has proved 
a more than human courage and resource. We do 
not know for what sins your Holiness has kept him 
so long in prison. If they be too heinous, your 
Holiness is holy and wise ; and in everything and 


everywhere may your will be done. But if his 
offences are such as can be pardoned, we beg that 
you will forgive him for our pleading." The Pope, 
who was somewhat confused, replied, " We have kept 
him in prison at the request of some of his friends, 
because he was too hot-headed ; but," he added, " fully 
aware of his talents, and desiring to keep him near 
us, we had arranged to confer such benefits on him 
that he should have had no pretext for returning to 
France. I am grieved that he is so much hurt. 
Tell him to think of getting well ; and as soon as 
he is cured we shall compensate him for all his 

Then these two good men returned to me with this 
welcome message from the Pope. In the meantime 
the nobihty of Rome came to visit me, both young 
men and old of every degree. The castellan, mad 
as he was, had himself carried to the Pope ; and there 
he began to protest that if his Holiness did not 
send me back to prison, it would be doing him a 
great wrong. " For," he added, " Benvenuto escaped 
in defiance of his word of honour. Alas ! alas ! he 
has flown away, and he promised me he would not." 
Then the Pope, laughing, said, " Go now, go ! for 
of a truth I will give him back to you." But the 
castellan entreated, " Send the governor to him, to 
learn who helped him to escape ; for if it be one 
of my men, I will hang him by the neck to that 
very battlement from which Benvenuto got down." 
When the castellan had gone, the Pope called for 
the governor, and said to him, smiling, " This is a 
brave man, and it's a wonderful thing he has done ; 
though, when I was young, I also got down from 
that very place." And here he spoke the truth ; for 
once he had been shut up in the castle for forging a 
papal brief, when he was abbreviator in the College 
of Parco Majori. Pope Alexander had kept him 
in prison for a considerable time ; and later, as his 


crime was of a shocking description, he even deter- 
mined to cut off his head. But as his Holiness 
wanted to have the Corpus Domini over first, 
Farnese learnt all, sent for Pietro Chiavelluzzi with 
several horses, and bribed the warders of the castle 
with money. So that on the feast day, when the 
Pope was in the procession, Farnese was placed in a 
basket and lowered to the ground by a rope. There 
was no outer wall of the castle in those days j there 
was only the great tower ; so that he had not such 
difficulty in getting off as I had. Moreover, he was 
rightly imprisoned, and I unjustly. He only wanted 
to boast to the governor that he, too, in his time 
had been a youth of spirit and high courage ; and did 
not see how he was but disclosing his own great 
villainy. " Go," said he, " and ask him to tell frankly 
who helped him. No matter who it be, it is enough 
for Benvenuto that I have pardoned him j and that 
you can promise him freely." 

cxii. And so the governor came to me. Two 
days before, he had been appointed Bishop of Jesi. 
Entering, he said, " Benvenuto, my friend, though 
my office is terrifying to men, I am here to set 
your mind at ease ; and for this I have the express 
order of his Holiness, He told me that he also had 
made a like escapade, but with good help and plenty 
of company ; otherwise he would have failed. I 
swear to you by the sacraments which I carry upon 
mc — for only two days ago I was made a bishop — 
that the Pope has liberated and pardoned you, and 
that he grieves over your hurt. But see to getting 
well ; keep a cheerful mind ; and the confinement, 
which in very truth you endured in all innocence, 
will prove a lasting good. You will trample poverty 
under your feet, and need never think of returning 
to France, tormenting your life out in this part or in 
that. Therefore tell me frankly the whole story, 
and who was your helper. After that, be at ease, 


rest, and get well." So from the very beginning I 
told him exactly how it had all happened, giving him 
the minutest details, not forgetting even to speak of 
the water-carrier who had carried me on his back. 
When the governor had heard all, he said, " Truly 
these are prodigious things for one man to have done 
by himself! No other in the world could have 
carried the thing through." Then, seizing my hand, 
he said, " Be of good cheer, and comfort you ; for 
by this hand which you now grasp, you are free ; 
and I promise you that, if you live, you shall be 
happy." Then he left me. Meanwhile he had 
been hindering a heap of nobles and gentlemen from 
seeing me. They had come to pay me a visit, 
having said amongst themselves, " Let us go and see 
this miracle- worker." They now stayed on with me 
for a while, and some of them offered me services, 
and some brought me gifts. 

In the meantime the governor returned to the Pope, 
and repeated to him my story. And all who were 
there expressed their wonderment. Said the Pope, 
" This is certainly a prodigious thing ! " Then 
spoke Signor Pier Luigi, who happened to be present, 
" Most Holy Father, if you liberate him, he will do 
greater prodigies still, for he is by nature a deal too 
audacious. I will tell you another exploit of his you 
do not know of. This Benvenuto of yours ; before 
he was in prison, had some words with a gentleman 
of the Cardinal Santa Fiore's household. The differ- 
ence arose from a mere trifling remark; but Ben- 
venuto answered so arrogantly, and with such heat, 
that it was as good as a challenge. The gentleman 
placed the matter before the Cardinal, who said that 
if he could put his hands on the fellow, he would 
soon shake the nonsense out of him. Benvenuto, 
hearing this, got ready a gun, with which he used to 
practise shooting at a farthing ; and one day, when 
the Cardinal was looking out at his window, Ben- 


venuto, whose shop is under the Cardinal's palace, 
took his gun and aimed at Santa Fiore, who, how- 
ever, being warned, got quickly out of the way. 
Then, that he might not appear to have meant any 
such thing, the fellow aimed at a wood-pigeon which 
was brooding in a hole at the top of the palace, and 
shot it through the head — a thing almost impossible 
to believe. So now let your Holiness do what you 
will with him. I should have failed in my duty had 
I kept silence about this. For the idea might even 
come into his head one day — since he thinks he was 
unjustly imprisoned — to shoot at your Holiness. 
His is a spirit too untamed and too sure of itself. 
When he killed Pompeo, he struck him twice in the 
throat with his dagger, though ten men were about 
him ; and then made off — to their disgrace : yet were 
they men of worth and standing." 

cxiii. While these words were being spoken, the 
gentleman of Santa Fiore's household, with whom I 
had had words, was present, and he confirmed to the 
Pope all his son had said. The Pope, swelling with 
rage, said not a word. Now I shall not be behind 
hand in speaking up for myself justly and truly con- 
cerning the affair in question. This gentleman of 
Santa Fiore came to me one day, and brought me a 
little gold ring, which was all stained with quick- 
silver, saying, " Brighten up this ring for me, and 
make haste about it." Now I had in hand a great 
many important works in gold and jewels. Besides, 
I was ruffled at hearing myself ordered about so 
arrogantly by one to whom I had never spoken 
before, nor even seen. So I told him I had no 
burnisher by me just then, and advised him to 
take the thing elsewhere. Then, for no reason in 
the world, he told me I was an ass. To which I 
answered that he did not speak the truth ; and that 
on every count I was a better man than he ; but that 
if he roused me, I would kick him harder than any 


donkey. He went and told tales of me to the Car- 
dinal, painting me like the very devil. Two days 
after this, I was shooting behind the palace at a 
wood -pigeon brooding in a hole in the wall very 
high up. I had seen a goldsmith, Giovan Francesco 
della Tacca, a Milanese, shooting several times at the 
same bird ; but he never brought it down. On this 
particular day the pigeon showed just its head ; for it 
was suspicious after being shot at so often. Now 
Giovan Francesco and I were rivals in shooting wild 
birds ; and certain friends of mine, who were in my 
shop at the time, called to me, saying, " Look, up 
there is Giovan Francesco della Tacca's pigeon, at 
which he has shot so often. Now see how suspicious 
the poor creature is ; it will hardly show its head." 
Raising my eyes, I answered, " That little bit of 
head is mark enough for me, if the bird waits till I 
get aim at it." The gentlemen declared that the 
inventor of the gun himself could not do it ; but 
I insisted. " Go and fetch a flask of mine host 
Palombo's good Greek wine," said I ; " and I wager 
if the bird but waits till I cover it with my wonder- 
ful Broccardo (so was my gun called), I'll hit that 
little bit of head it shows." Then taking aim, with- 
out any rest for my arms, I did what I had promised, 
and without a thought in my mind of the Cardinal 
or any one else. Indeed I looked on the Cardinal as 
a great friend of mine. Thus let the world observe, 
when Fortune is resolved to wreck a man*s career, 
how various are the ways she takes ! 

The Pope swelled and muttered in his rage, and 
stayed there turning over his son's story in his mind. 

cxiv. Two days after this. Cardinal Cornaro 
went to ask the Pope for a bishopric for one of his 
gentlemen, called Messer Andrea Centano. It is 
true the Pope had promised him a bishopric, and one 
was now vacant. And when the Cardinal reminded 
him, his Holiness said that such was the truth, and 


he was quite willing ; but that he also desired a 
favour, namely, that his lordship should give 
Benvenuto into his hands. Then the Cardinal 
replied, " Oh, since you have pardoned him, and given 
him up to me as a free man, what will the world say 
of your Holiness and of me ? " The Pope answered^ 
" I want Benvenuto ; you want the bishopric. Let 
them say what they like." The good Cardinal still 
begged for the bishopric ; but, for the rest, bade 
his Holiness reflect, and then do whatever was in 
his mind and power to do. The Pope, somewhat 
ashamed of betraying his word, said, " I will send 
for Benvenuto, and, just for my own satisfaction, I 
will put him down there in the rooms of my secret 
garden, where he can do his best to get well, and 
no hindrance shall be put in the way of his friends 
coming to see him. Also I will pay his expenses 
till this whim passes out of my head." The Cardinal 
returned home, and at once sent me a message by his 
friend who was looking for the bishopric ; how the 
Pope wished to have me back again in his hands, but 
that I should be lodged in one of the lower chambers 
of the secret garden, and be free to see whomsoever 
I Hked, just as in his house. I entreated Messer 
Andrea to have the goodness to beg the Cardinal 
not to surrender me to the Pope, but to let mc 
manage the affair. I should have myself wrapped in 
my bedding and taken to a sure place outside Rome. 
For if he gave me up, he was sending me to certain 
death. They say the Cardinal, when he heard what 
I asked, would willingly have consented. But Messer 
Andrea, to whom the bishopric was a matter of much 
concern, made known our plan. His Holiness sent 
for me immediately, and had me housed, as he had 
said, in one of the lower rooms in his secret garden. 
The Cardinal warned mc to eat nothing provided 
by the Pope, promising to supply me with food ; 
and adding that what he had done he had been 



driven to. I was to keep a good heart, he said ; 
and he would help me to regain my freedom. While 
matters stood thus, I had visits every day, and fine 
offers were made to me by many great gentlemen. 
Food was sent by the Pope, but I never touched it, 
eating only what came from the Cardinal Cornaro's 
table. And so I stayed like this for a space. 

Now among my friends was a young Greek or 
five-and-twenty, a very vigorous young fellow, and 
the finest swordsman in Rome ; rather lacking in 
courage, perhaps ; but a most faithful-hearted, honest 
creature, and very credulous. He had heard or 
the Pope's saying he would make up to me for 
all my troubles. Now it was indeed the truth 
that his Holiness had said so in the beginning j 
but afterwards he spoke very differently. So I 
took this young Greek into my confidence, and 
said to him, " Dearest brother, those people have the 
wickedest designs on me, so that now is the time to 
help me. Do they think that I am unaware of their 
intentions, that I do not know their extraordinary 
favours to be a mere blind ? " The good young 
fellow replied, " Benvenuto my friend, in Rome the 
rumour runs that the Pope has given you an office 
worth five hundred crowns. Therefore I entreat 
you not to let this suspicion of yours lose you such 
a good thing." Nevertheless I begged him, and 
with my arms I made a cross to strengthen my en- 
treaty, to get me out of this place. Well I knew 
that it was in the power of such a Pope to do me 
much good ; yet I also knew for a certainty he was 
planning secretly to do me an ill turn, without risk 
to his good name. Therefore I begged my friend to 
act quickly, and do his best to save me from my 
enemies. If only he got me out of this in the way I 
could tell him, ever after I should consider I owed 
my life to him, and should spend it for him in his 
need. This poor young man wept and said, " O my 


dear brother, you are bent on your own ruin ; yet I 
cannot but do your bidding. Therefore tell me your 
plan, and I will do all you say, though against my 
own will." Thus it was arranged ; and I explained 
to him the whole scheme, which might very easily 
have been successful. But when I was expecting 
him to carry it out, he came to say that, for my 
own safety, he was going to disobey me, believing 
fully what he had heard from men who were in the 
Pope's confidence, and who, he said, knew the real 
state of my case. He had been my only stand-by ; 
and now I remained wretched and despairing. This 
was the day of the Corpus Domini of the year 1539. 
cxv. After this discussion the whole day passed 
away ; and at night there came from the Pope's 
kitchen an abundant supply of food, as well as ex- 
cellent provision from the Cardinal Cornaro's table. 
And some friends of mine happening to come in, I 
made them stay to supper. I was in bed with my 
leg in splints, yet I made good cheer with them, so 
that they stayed on. About an hour after sundown 
they left me ; and two of my servants settled me for 
the night, and then lay down in the antechamber. 
Now I had a hairy dog as black as a mulberry. He 
was of the greatest use to me when I went shooting ; 
and now he kept close to me all the time. That 
night he lay under my bed, and during the hours that 
followed I called my servant three times to take him 
out, for he was howling terribly. When the servants 
came, the dog threw himself on them, and would have 
bitten them. They were terrified, and feared he was 
mad, for he never stopped howling. So the night 
went on till the fourth hour. Just on the stroke of 
four, the Bargello with his band came into my room. 
The dog rushed out, flew at them with such fury, 
tearing their clothes and their hosen, and terrifying 
them so that they thought he was mad. But the 
Bargello, a man of experience, said, " Good dogs by 
I 245 


instinct always divine and predict any harm threaten- 
ing their masters. Here, two of you drive off the 
creature with sticks. You others, meanwhile, bind 
Benvenuto to this chair, and bring him you know 
where." As I have said, this happened on the night 
after the Corpus Domini, about the fourth hour. All 
muffled about with wraps, I was carried off, four of 
the guards walking in front, to scatter the few persons 
who were still about the streets. Thus they brought 
me to the Torre di Nona — so it is called — and put me 
into the condemned cell. Laying me down on a bit 
of a mattress, they gave me in charge to one of the 
warders, who all night long condoled with me on my 
evil fortune, saying, " Alas, poor Benvenuto ! what 
have you done to set those people against you ? " By 
this I was left in little doubt as to my fate, the place 
being what it was, and this man having warned me. 
I spent a portion of that night in agonised conjec- 
ture as to why it had pleased God so to punish me ; 
and because I could think of no reason, I was much 
disturbed. The guard set to comforting me as well as 
he knew. But I entreated him, for the love of God, 
to be silent, and to leave me alone, so that I might 
the more speedily and the better possess my soul. 
He promised to do so. Then turning my whole 
heart towards God, I besought Him most devoutly to 
receive me into His kingdom. I had, indeed, mur- 
mured ; but it was at the thought of leaving this 
world in such a fashion, while I was quite innocent, 
so far as the ordinary laws were concerned. True, 
I had committed homicides ; but God's Vicar had 
called me from my own country and pardoned me, 
by his own authority, and in the name of the laws ; 
and what I had done had been done in defence of 
that body, which His Divine Majesty had lent to me, 
so that I could not own that I deserved this death, 
having regard to the conditions under which we live 
in the world. It seemed to me that I was in the 


position of unlucky persons walking in the streets, 
when a stone falls from some great height on their 
head and kills them, which may be clearly assigned 
to the influence of the stars. Not that the stars 
in any way plot against us, to do us or good or 
ill ; but these accidents come to pass through their 
conjunction, to which we are subject. Yet, I re- 
flected, I know I have free will ; and if my faith were 
active and devout, I am very certain that the angels 
of heaven would bear me out of this prison, and would 
bring me to a sure refuge from all my troubles. But 
since God thinks me unworthy of such a favour, it is 
clear that celestial influences work out their malignity 
on me. This struggle lasted for a time. Then I 
became calm, and ere long I fell asleep. 

cxvi. When the dawn broke, the warder woke me 
and said, " O unlucky man, yet undeserving of your 
fate ! There is no more time for sleep. One has 
come with ill news for you." Then I answered, 
" The sooner I am out of this prison of the world, 
the happier for me, the more that I am sure my soul 
has found salvation, and that I die innocent. Christ, 
glorious and divine, makes me companion of His dis- 
ciples and His friends, who like Him were wrongly 
put to death. I, too, unjustly am sent to my death ; 
and I thank God devoutly for the same. Why does 
he not appear who brings me my sentence ? " Then 
answered the warder, " He is too sorry for you, and 
he weeps." So I called him by his own name, which 
was Benedetto da Cagli, saying, "Come forward, 
Messer Benedetto my friend, for now I am most well 
disposed and resigned. I glory much more, dying 
thus unjustly, than if I had been deserving of such a 
fate. Come hither, I beg you ; and grant me a 
priest, that I may speak a word or two with him — 
although I have no need of this, for I have already 
made holy confession to my Lord God. Yet fain 
would I observe what Holy Mother Church has 


commanded us; for though she has done me this 
hideous wrong, I freely pardon her. So come, friend 
Benedetto ; hasten to tell me your message, while I 
am still in this devout mood." 

When I had said these words, the worthy man told 
the guard to lock the door on me in the meanwhile ; 
for without him the business could not be done. 
Then he went off to the house of Signor Pier Luigi*s 
wife, who had with her the Duchess I have already 
spoken of. And presenting himself to them, he 
said, " My most illustrious mistress, be pleased, I beg 
you, for the love of God, to ask the Pope to send 
another man to speak the sentence on Benvenuto, 
and carry out my office ; for I renounce it, and 
never will I fulfil it." Then sighing, and in greatest 
grief of heart, he went away. The Duchess knitted 
her brows, as she said, "This is the fine justice 
administered in Rome by the Vicar of God ! The 
Duke, my former husband, had the highest opinion 
of this man, for his worth and his talents. He never 
wished him to return to Rome, but holding him very 
dear, he desired to keep him near his person." Then 
she went off with angry mutterings on her lips. 
The wife of Signor Pier Luigi, who v^ras called the 
Signora Jerolima, then repaired to the Pope ; and 
throwing herself on her knees before him, in the 
presence of several cardinals, spoke so impressively 
that she brought a blush to his cheek. " For your 
sake," he replied, "we will let him be — though we 
never wished him harm." But he only said so 
because the cardinals had heard the appeal of this 
wonderful and spirited lady. 

In the meantime I remained in the greatest 
anxiety, my heart beating violently all the while. 
Hardly less anxious were the men on whom the 
horrid duty would have fallen. But when dinner 
time had passed, they all went about their other 
business, and food was brought to me likewise. In 


my astonishment I said, " Now has truth been 
stronger than the malignity of the celestial influ- 
ences. And I pray God that it may please Him to 
save me from the fury of this tempest." Then I 
began to eat ; and just as resolutely as I had made up 
my mind to the worst, so now did I bravely hope 
for good fortune. I dined heartily ; and not a soul 
came near me till one hour of the night, when the 
Bargello arrived with a good part of his men, and 
had me put back in the chair in which, the night 
before, he had brought me to this place. On the 
way he spoke most kindly to me, telling me to fear 
nothing ; and ordering his men to avoid jostling my 
broken leg, and to take care of me as of their own 
eyes. So they did ; and brought me to the castle 
whence I had escaped ; and when we were at the top 
of the keep, they locked me into a cell opening on a 
little court there for a while. 

cxvii. Meantime the castellan had himself brought 
to the place where I was ; and the poor afflicted man 
said to me, " See, I have got you again." " Yes," 
said I, "but you must own that I did escape as I 
told you. And if I had not been sold — on the Pope's 
word, too — for a bishopric, by a Venetian Cardinal 
and a Roman Farnese, who both spat in the face of 
the most sacred laws, you would never have caught 
me again. But now, since they have set out on this 
evil road, do your worst. Everything in the world is 
the same to me." Then the poor man began to cry 
aloud, "Alas, alas ! he does not care whether he lives or 
dies ; and he is more audacious than when he was well. 
Put him down there below the garden, and never 
speak of him again ; for he will be the death of me ! " 

I was then taken to a dark cell under the garden. 
Water covered the floor, and it was full of tarantulas 
and venomous worms. A wretched mattress of 
hemp was thrown down on the ground for me. I 
was given no supper that night ; and there was I left 


behind four locked doors. So I remained till the 
nineteenth hour of the next day. When at last they 
brought me something to eat, I asked the warders to 
let me have some of my books to read. Not a word 
did they answer j but they handed on my request to 
the poor castellan, who asked what I had said. Next 
morning I was given my Bible in the vulgar tongue, 
and another book which contained the Chronicles of 
Giovanni Villani. When I asked for certain others, 
I was told I should have no more, and that I had too 
many already. 

And so in this unhappy state I continued, lying 
on the wretched damp mattress, which in three days* 
time was soaked through and through. I could 
barely move because of my broken leg ; and when 
I wished to get out of bed for my natural needs, I 
crawled on hands and knees with the greatest diffi- 
culty in order not to befoul the place where I slept. 
For an hour and a half each day a faint reflection of 
light entered my miserable dungeon by a tiny hole ; 
and only during that little time could I read. The 
rest of the day and night I waited patiently in the 
darkness ; nor were thoughts of God and of our 
human frailty ever far from me. I was certain that 
in a few brief days I should here, and in these con- 
ditions, end my unhappy life. Yet as best I could 
I comforted myself, thinking how much worse it 
would have been to have met my death by a blow of 
the hangman's horrid knife : whereas now I should 
pass away as if drugged to sleep, which made death 
seem much easier. Little by Httle I felt the flame 
of my life dying down, till my fine constitution 
accommodated itself to the purgatory. After I felt 
that it had become adapted and inured to circum- 
stances, I made up my mind calmly to bear my 
terrible suff^erings while strength enough remained. 

cxviii. I began the Bible from the beginning, 
reading and pondering it devoutly ; and so fascinated 


was I by its study that, if I had been able, I should 
never have done anything else save pore over it. 
But as light failed me, then the burden of all my 
troubles came upon me, and tore so at my heart, that 
many a time I resolved to do aw^ay with myself in 
one way or another. Only, as they gave me no 
knife, it was not easy to find the means. Once, 
however, I took a great beam of wood I found lying 
in my cell, and poised it Hke a trap, intending it 
should fall on my head, which would certainly have 
crushed me to death on the spot. But when I had 
got the whole thing ready, and was making a move- 
ment to shake it down, just as I was about to put my 
hand to it, I was seized by some invisible thing, and 
thrown four cubits' length from the place ; and so 
terrified was I that I lay half dead ; and there, I 
stopped till the nineteenth hour, when they brought 
me my dinner. They must have come several times 
without my hearing them ; for when I became con- 
scious, I heard Sandrino Monaldi, who had entered, 
saying, " O unhappy man ! See the end of such 
rare talent ! " When these words reached me, I 
opened my eyes, and saw priests with their robes on, 
who said, " Oh, you told us he was dead ! " And 
Bozza answered, " Dead I found him ; and so I told 
you." Then they raised me up, Hfted the mattress 
which was pulpy, just like a mess of macaroni, and 
threw it out of the room. When they described my 
condition to the castellan, he ordered me another 
mattress. Afterwards, when I pondered what it 
might have been that turned me back from such a 
deed, I felt I had been visited by some power divine, 
my guardian angel. 

cxix. Next night there appeared to me in a dream 
a wonderful being, in the shape of a beautiful youth, 
who reproached me, saying, " Dost thou know who 
lent thee that body which thou wouldst have de- 
stroyed before its time ? " I seemed to make answer 



that I recognised everything as coming from the 
God of Nature. Then said he, " Dost thou despise 
His works, seeking thus to spoil them ? Let Him be 
thy guide, and never lose hope in His great power." 
And much other excellent counsel he gave me, of 
which I do not remember the thousandth part. So I 
began to reflect that this angel had, indeed, told me 
the truth. Casting my eyes round the prison, I saw 
some bits of crumbling brick, and by rubbing one 
piece against another, I contrived to make a little 
paste. Then I crawled to the door of my prison, 
and bit off a little splinter from the sharp edge. I 
waited until the light came into my cell, which was 
from twenty and a half to twenty-one and a half of 
the day. Then I began to write, as well as I could, 
on some blank pages of my Bible a reproof to the 
revolting spirits that rule my intellect, which had 
refused any longer to bear this life. They, on their 
part, replied to my body, setting forward their 
suffering as excuse ; and then the body gave them 
hope of good to come. So, in dialogue form, I 
The Body, 

Afflicted spirits mine ! Ah, lend 

An ear. How cruel your hate of life ! 

The Spirits, 

If Heaven and you contend, 

Who is our champion in the strife ? 

Then stay us not : we seek a better life. 

7he Body, 

Ah, go not yet, I pray ! 

Heaven holds before your face 

Such joys as in the past you ne'er did know. 

The Spirits, 

Still a few hours we stay, 
If the great God concede to you such grace 
As brings us not a heavier load of woe. 


My vigour came back once again, now that I had 
thus comforted myself; and I went on reading my 
Bible. My eyes had become so accustomed to the 
darkness that, whereas at first I could only read an 
hour and a half, now I read three whole hours. 
Marvelling greatly, I pondered the force of God's 
strength in those so simple men, who believed with 
utmost fervour that God would grant them the desire 
of their hearts. I, too, looked forward to the help of 
God, depending on His divine strength and mercy, 
and likewise on my own innocence. Thus all the 
time these high thoughts stayed by me ; and now I 
talked with Him. And such delight did I begin to 
feel in this communion, that I did not remember any 
more my sufferings in the past ; but all day long I 
sang psalms and many other verses I had made in His 

One thing, however, gave me great trouble, and that 
was the growth of my nails ; for whenever I touched 
myself I made a wound, and I could not dress with- 
out their either turning inwards or outwards, and 
causing me much suffering. Also my teeth were 
decaying in my mouth. I became aware of this 
when the dead teeth were shoved up by the living 
ones, and little by little the gums were pierced, and 
the sharp points of the roots came through their cases. 
When I saw this, I drew them out one after the 
other, like knives from their scabbards, without pain 
or blood. However, I got used to these fresh troubles 
and annoyances. Sometimes I sang, sometimes I 
prayed, and sometimes I wrote with the brick paste I 
have mentioned. It was then I began a Capitolo in 
praise of my prison, telling all the accidents that had 
happened to me. This Capitolo shall be written 
down in its own place. 

cxx. The good castellan sent often privately to 
know what I was doing. Now on the last day of 
Julv I was in very good heart, there all by myself, 
I* 253 


remembering the great feast that is wont to be held 
in Rome on the ist of August. "In past years," I 
said, " I kept this pleasant feast amidst the vanities of 
the world. This year I shall hold it contemplating 
the divinity of God. Oh, how much happier am I 
now than then ! " These words of mine were re- 
ported to the castellan, who was vexed beyond 
measure, and said, "O God, he thrives and triumphs 
in the midst of all his sufferings ; while I am wretched 
in the midst of plenty ! I die, and his is the fault. 
Go at once and put him in the lowest dungeon of 
all, where the Preacher Foiano was starved to death. 
Perhaps when he sees himself in such evil case, he 
will be less merry ! " 

So there came to my prison Captain Sandrino 
Monaldi, with about twenty of the castellan's serv- 
ants. They found me on my knees, and I did not 
move at their entrance ; for I was praying before a 
God-the-Father with angels around, and a Christ 
rising victorious, which I had drawn on the wall with 
a piece of charcoal I had found amongst a heap of 
earth in my cell. Now I had lain four months on 
my back on account of my broken leg, and had 
dreamt so often that the angels came to cure me, 
that by this time it had grown as strong as if it had 
never been broken. Well, now these men came 
towards me, all armed, and as much afraid as if I had 
been a venomous dragon. Then the Captain spoke : 
" You know we are here, and in our numbers, for we 
came in with noise enough ; and yet you do not turn 
round to greet us." When I heard these words, my 
mind ran at once to the greater evil which might 
happen to me ; but misfortune and I being old and 
constant friends, I said to them, " To the God Who 
bears me up, to the Heavenly One I have turned my 
soul, my contemplation, and all my vital forces. To 
you I turn just what belongs to you ; for what is 
good in me you are not worthy to look on, nor can 


you touch it. But do to that which is yours what- 
ever you may." The Captain was in a fright ; and 
not knowing what I might do, he cried to four of 
the stoutest, " Lay down all your weapons." As soon 
as they had done so, he said, " Now throw yourselves 
on him — quick — quick — and seize him ! Is he the 
devil that so many of us should tremble before him ? 
Hold him fast that he may not escape ! " Then I 
was seized with brutal violence ; and looking for 
something much worse than what actually happened, 
I lifted my eyes to Christ, and said, "O Cod of 
Justice, on that high cross of Thine, didst Thou not 
pay all our debts ? Why then has my innocence to 
pay the debts of some unknown sinner ? Neverthe- 
less, Thy will be done." 

In the meantime they were carrying me away 
with a huge lighted torch ; and I felt sure they were 
going to throw me down the Sammalo oubliette. 
Such is the name of a place which has engulfed 
many a living man ; and they fall down, down, into 
a deep hole in the foundations of the castle. But 
this did not happen. So I thought I was exceedingly 
lucky when they put me in that horrid dungeon of 
which I have spoken, the one where Foiano died of 
hunger. There they left me without doing me any 
further hurt. 

When I was alone, I began to sing a De profundis 
clamavi^ a Miserere^ and In te Domine speravi. And 
thus it was I kept that ist of August feast with God, 
my heart rejoicing all the time in hope and faith. 
On the second day they drew me out of that hole, 
and brought me back again to the cell where I had 
drawn God's image on the wall. When I got back 
there, I was overcome with weeping for the sweetness 
of my joy. After that the castellan would have 
news every day of what I did and said. 

Now the doctors had already given yp all hope of 
saving his life ; and the Pope, who had heard the 


whole story, said, "Before my castellan dies, I am 
willing to let him get rid of Benvenuto in whatever 
way he likes ; for he is the cause of his death, and 
he shall not die unavenged." These words being 
reported to him by Duke Pier Luigi, the castellan 
cried, "So now the Pope gives me Benvenuto, and 
would have me take my revenge on him ? Think 
no more about the matter ; leave it to me." If the 
Pope in his heart harboured malice against me, 
revenge and bitterness raged in that of the castellan 
at that moment. Just then the invisible guardian, 
who had kept me from taking my own life, came to 
me. I could not see him, but he stood by me, 
lifted me up from the depths, and said in a clear 
voice, " Ah, me ! Benvenuto my friend, make haste. 
Assail God with thy wonted prayers, and cry aloud t6 
Him ! " Seized with sudden fright, I sank on my 
knees, and recited prayer after prayer in a loud voice, 
adding at the end the ^ui habitat in adjutorio. 
Then I talked with God for a space. And all at 
once the firm, clear voice said, " Go now and rest, 
and have no fear." 

Now this is what had happened. After the 
castellan had given a most brutal order for my death, 
all at once he withdrew it, saying, "Is he not 
Benvenuto whom I have defended so stoutly, and of 
whose innocence I am quite certain, knowing as I do 
all this cruelty is wrought on him unjustly ? Oh, 
how can God ever have pity on me and on my sins, 
if I do not pardon those who have done me the 
greatest wrongs ? Oh, why should I hurt a good 
innocent man, who has done me service and honour ? 
Go to ! instead of killing him, I will give him Hfe 
and liberty ; and I shall leave it written in my testa- 
ment that no one is to ask him a single farthing of 
the great expenses I have undergone for him, which 
otherwise he would have to pay." Now this came 
to the ears of the Pope, and he was very angry. 


cxxi. Meanwhile I continued to pray, and went 
on writing my Capitolo. And every night I dreamt 
the most gladsome and pleasant dreams imaginable. 
I always seemed to be in the company of that spirit, 
who had been invisible, but whom I now saw, and 
whose voice I continued to hear. I asked but one 
sole grace of him ; and that I begged with all my 
heart, that he would bring me where I could see the 
sun. This, I said, was the only desire I had, and 
if I could but see it, then I should die content. By 
this time all the annoyances I had to endure in my 
prison had become even as my friends and com- 
panions ; none of them disturbed me any more. 
Yet there were minions of the castellan who were 
looking for him to hang me from the battlement 
from whence I had climbed down, as I have told 
you ; and when they saw how their master had 
resolved on just the opposite, they could not bear it ; 
and all the time they kept inventing new terrors for 
me, so that I might never cease trembling, and ever 
feel that death was at hand. But, as I say, I had 
grown so accustomed to all these things, that I 
feared none of them ; and the one desire that stirred 
within me was to see the sphere of the sun in my 
dreams. So did I pray without ceasing ; and my 
heart went out to Christ, crying continually, " O 
true Son of God, I pray Thee by Thy birth, by 
Thy death upon the Cross, and Thy glorious resur- 
rection, grant me to see the sun, if not otherwise, 
at least in dreams. But if Thou rendercst me 
worthy to see it with these mortal eyes, I promise to 
go a pilgrimage to Thy Holy Sepulchre." This 
vow and these my most earnest prayers, I made to 
God on the 2nd day of October 1539. Next 
morning, which was the 3rd of October, I awoke 
at dawn, almost an hour before the rising of the 
sun ; and getting up from my wretched lair, I put 
ton a covering, for it had begun to be cold, and then 


prayed more devoutly than ever I had done before, 
beseeching Christ to grant me at least such grace as 
should reveal to me the sin of mine for w^hich I was 
undergoing this sore penance j and since His Divine 
Majesty had not thought me w^orthy to see the sun 
even in my dreams, I begged Him, in the name of 
His great power and virtue, to make known to me 
the reason of my punishment. 

cxxii. When I had said these words, I was taken 
up and carried away by that invisible power, like a 
wind, and brought into a place where the unknown 
being manifested himself visibly in human form, in 
the shape of a youth scarce bearded, wondrous fair of 
face, but austere, and no wanton. And in that place 
he pointed some out to me, saying, " This great com- 
pany of men you see are those who from the beginning 
of time have been born into the world, and then have 
died.'* Whereat I asked him why he brought me 
here ; and he made answer, " Come with me, and 
soon you shall know." Now in my hand I carried 
a dagger, and I wore a coat of mail. He led me 
through the spacious place, and showed me folk in 
their infinite thousands, walking some this way and 
some the other. Still he led me on, and then stepped 
in front of me through a little doorway into what 
seemed a narrow street. I found myself disarmed, 
and I was in a white shirt with nothing on my head, 
and walking on my companion's right hand. Seeing 
myself like this, I was full of wonder, for I did not 
know the street. Lifting my eyes, I saw that the 
light of the sun was beating on a wall, like a house 
front, above my head. Then I exclaimed, "Oh 
friend, what must I do to rise high enough to see 
the very sphere of the sun ? " And he pointed out 
to me some great stairs upon my right hand, and 
said, " Go that way, and alone." So I went on by 
myself. I mounted the stairs backwards, and little 
by little became aware of the nearness of the sun. I 



hastened my steps, and went on still in this feshion, 
till I perceived the whole sphere of the sun. Now 
the force of its rays made me instinctively close my 
eyes. Perceiving my error, however, I opened them 
and looked straight at the light, and said, " O sun, my 
friend, whom I have so longed for ! Never again 
would I see aught else, though thy rays blind me.'* 
Thus I stood for a space with my eyes firmly fixed 
on it, till suddenly the full force of the great rays 
were cast upon the left of the orb, which then re- 
mained clear and rayless ; and with infinite gladness 
did I behold it, for it seemed to me a most marvellous 
thing that the rays were thus removed. I stayed to 
ponder on the Grace Divine I had received that 
morning from God ; and I cried aloud, " O wonderful 
power of Thine ! O glorious virtue ! How much 
more grace Thou grantest me than e'er I looked 
for ! " This rayless sun appeared to me, not more 
nor less than a bath of purest liquid gold. While I 
was considering this marvel, I saw something grow 
from the middle of the sphere ; and gradually the 
growth took shape, and in an instant it was a Christ 
upon the Cross, made of the stuff of the sun itself. 
Such grace was in His benign aspect, that the mind 
of man could not imagine a myriadth part of it. And 
while I was contemplating the wonder, 1 cried aloud 
" A miracle ! A miracle ! O God ! O clemency of 
Thine, O Virtue Infinite ! What wonders hast 
Thou granted me to see this day ! " While I stood 
in this ecstasy, Christ moved towards that part 
whither had travelled the rays ; and the centre of the 
sun swelled out anew ; and as it grew, it took shape 
in a Madonna of marvellous beauty. She was sitting 
on a high throne with her Son in her arms, in sweetest 
attitude, and with a smile upon her face. On this 
side and on that was an angel of such marvellous 
beauty that imagination does not reach thereto. I 
saw also within the sun, on the right, a figure clad 


like a priest. He kept his back to me, and turned 
his face towards the Madonna and the Christy All 
these things I saw true, clear, and living ; and all 
the time I kept crying aloud my praise to the glory 
of God. This wonderful thing had been before 
my eyes but a few minutes when it vanished ; and I 
was thrust back to my wretched lair. Then did I 
exclaim, " By the virtue of God I have been deemed 
worthy to see His glory, which maybe no mortal eye 
hath ever seen before. Wherefore by this I know 
that I am free and happy and protected by God's 
grace ; and you villains shall villains still remain, 
unhappy and under the ban of the Almighty. 
Hearken to what I say now ; for I have assurance 
that at four of the night following on All Saints' 
Day, which was the day I came into the world, 
(namely, the first of November of the year 1500), you 
will be compelled to take me out of this dark dungeon ; 
nor will you be able to help yourselves. For I have 
seen it with mine own eyes writ plain upon the 
throne of God. That priest with his face towards 
God, and his back to me, was the Blessed Peter, who 
was pleading my cause ; for he was shamed that in 
his house Christians should suffer such cruel wrongs. 
So tell whoever you will, that no one has the power 
to do me further hurt ; and tell the lord who keeps 
me here that, if he will send me either wax or paper, 
by which I can show forth the Glory of God revealed 
unto me, then of a surety I shall make clear to him 
what mayhap he now holds in doubt." 

cxxiii. Although the doctors had no hope of saving 
the castellan's life, yet he remained sane in mind ; 
for those mad humours which were wont to aiHict 
him every year, were utterly departed. His one 
thought was now the saving of his soul j and his con- 
science gnawed him, for it was much on his mind 
that I had suffered, and was still, suffering, a very 
great wrong. He let the Pope know the great things 


of which I spoke ; but his Holiness sent back the 
answer of one who believes neither in God nor in 
anything else : that I was mad, and that he should 
give all his mind to the care of his own health. 
When the castellan heard the Pope's reply, he sent 
me words of comfort, and supplied me with writing 
materials, with wax also, and some little wooden 
modelling tools, and sent kind messages besides, 
which were delivered by one of his servants who was 
a good friend of mine ; just the opposite, in fact, of 
that other band of rascals, who would have liked to 
see me dead. With the paper and the wax I began 
to employ myself, and while I worked, I wrote this 
sonnet to the castellan — 

My lord, if I to you the truth could show 
Of light eternal unto me reveal'd, 
In this low life, such faith to me you*d yield 

As scarce on a high emperor you'd bestow. 

If the great Pastor of the Church could know 
Mine eyes have seen God's glory without shield, 
Glory from every other soul conceal'd 

Till it has left this realm of bitter woe. 

The gates of holy Justice you would see 

Roll back, and impious Fury sudden fall 
Helpless and bound, protesting to the skies. 

Had I but light — but light ! Ah me ! 

To carve my vision on the heavenly wall, 
Then should I all my other griefs despise. 

cxxiv. When next day, the castellan's servant who 
was fond of me, brought me my food, I gave him this 
sonnet written out ; and, without telling those other 
evil-minded servants who had an ill will to me, he 
handed it to his master. The castellan would 
willingly have let me go free, for he had the notion 
that the v/rong done to me was the chief cause of 
his dying. Taking the sonnet, he read it more than 


once, and said, " These are neither the words nor the 
conceits of a madman, but of a good honest man ; ** 
and at once he ordered one of his secretaries to take 
it to the Pope, to give it into his own hands, and 
beg him to let me go free. While the secretary was 
carrying the sonnet to the Pope, the castellan sent 
me lights both for the day and for the night, and 
every comfort which could be looked for in that 
place. So I began to recover from my weakness, 
which had become very serious. The Pope read the 
sonnet several times. Then he sent word to the 
castellan that ere long he would do what would please 
him. And, indeed, his Holiness would have willingly 
let me go then ; but Signor Pier Luigi, his son, 
almost in defiance of his father, kept me there by 

The death of the castellan was drawing near. 
While I was designing and sculpting the marvellous 
miracle I have related, on the morning of All Saints' 
Day, he sent Piero Ugolini his nephew to show mc 
some jewels. As soon as I saw them, I cried out : 
" This is the countersign of my dehverance." 
Whereupon the young man, who was somewhat 
slow-witted, said, " Don't be counting on that, Ben- 
venuto." Then I answered, " Take away your 
jewels ; for I am so ill-treated here that I have not 
Hght enough in this black cell ; and without light it 
is impossible to discern the quality of the stones. 
But as to getting out of prison, before this day is 
done, you will come to take me out of it. And this 
is fated ; you cannot help yourself." Then he went 
away, and the key was turned on me again. But 
after he had been gone more than two hours by the 
clock, he came back for me without an armed guard, 
with only two lads who helped me to walk. Thus 
I was brought into the spacious apartment which I 
had in the beginning (that is in 1538), and was 
given all the comforts I could wish for. 


cxxv. A few days after, the castellan — who 
thought I was out of prison and free — pressed hard 
by his mortal malady, passed from this present life. 
His place was taken by his brother Messer Antonio 
Ugolini, who had given the castellan to understand 
that he had let me go. This Messer Antonio, so far 
as I understood, had the authority of the Pope to let 
me remain in this spacious prison till he should tell 
him what was to be done with me. Now Messer 
Durante of Brescia, whom I have already spoken of, 
arranged with the soldier, who had been an apothe- 
cary in Prato, to give me some liquid poison in my 
food. It was not meant to work suddenly, but to 
take effect in four or five months. But in the end 
they made up their minds to mix diamond dust with 
my meat. In itself it is not poisonous at all ; but 
being extraordinarily hard, its sharply pointed angles 
do not become rounded when it is reduced to powder, 
as would be the case with other stones. Only the 
diamond keeps its sharp edge, so that, if it enters the 
stomach along with food, during the process of di- 
gestion it sticks to the coats of the stomach and the 
bowels, and as the new food comes ever pushing for- 
ward, it is not long before it pierces them, and death 
is the result ; whereas no other kind of stone or glass 
sticks to the organs, but goes on its way with the 
food. So now this Messer Durante gave a diamond 
of small value to one of the warders ; and it is said 
that a certain Lione, a goldsmith of Arezzo, and a 
great enemy of mine, was given the pounding of it. 
Now Lione was very poor, and the diamond might 
have been worth some dozens of crowns. Well, he 
gave the warder to understand that the dust he re- 
turned to him was really this diamond pounded and 
ready to be administered to me. So that morning — 
it happened to be a Friday — they put it into all my 
victuals. I was given it in salad, in sauce, and in 
soup. I set to with a hearty appetite, for the night 


before I had fasted, and this was a feast day. It is 
quite true that I felt my teeth crunching the food, 
but the thought of such a piece of rascality never 
entered my head. When I had finished dinner, a 
little salad was left on the plate, and my eyes 
happened to fall on some very fine splinters among 
the remains. I took them at once to the light of 
the window ; and while I was looking at them, I 
remembered that my food had crunched under my 
teeth that morning more than usual. After examin- 
ing them well, I came to the conclusion that, as far 
as my eyes could judge, they were particles of 
diamond dust. I gave myself up at once for dead. 
Sorrow and devotion mingled in my heart as I 
hastened to my prayers. Thus facing my certain 
death, for a whole hour I entreated God in prayer, 
and thanked Him for a death so mild. Since my 
stars had thus ruled my fate, I thought I was for- 
tunate to get out of life by this easy road. I felt a 
deep contentment, and blessed the world and the 
time I had lived in it. Now I was returning to a 
better land, by the grace of God, which I felt quite 
sure I had won. 

While these thoughts were running in my mind, 
I held in my hand some tiny grains of the supposed 
diamond ; for, indeed, I thought it to be such. But 
hope never dies, and even now a faint vain gHmmer 
of it led me on. So I took a small knife and some 
of the grains, and placed them on one of my prison 
bars. Then with great care I pressed the point of 
the knife heavily on the grains, and felt them crumb- 
ling. Looking closer, I knew it was so. At once 
I wrapped myself about with new hope, and said, 
" This won't do me much harm, Messer Durante ; 
it's only a soft and worthless and quite harmless 
stone." True, I had made up my mind to be calm 
and to die in peace ; but I now changed my mind. 
First of all, however, I thanked God, and blessed 


poverty, which, though many times it brings about 
men's death, was now the real cause of my escape. 
For, as I have told you, Messer Durante, my enemy, 
or whoever it was, gave a diamond worth more than 
a hundred crowns to be pounded. But Lione, 
tempted by his poverty, kept it himself, and ground 
for me a citron-coloured beryl worth two carlins, 
thinking, probably, that any stone would have the 
same effect as a diamond. 

cxxvi. About this time the Bishop of Pavia, 
brother of the Count of San Secondo, who was 
called Monsignor de' Rossi of Parma, was imprisoned 
in the castle on account of some disputes that had 
taken place at Pavia. Now, as he was a great friend 
of mine, I put my head out of a hole in my prison, 
and called to him loud, telling him the rascals had 
given me a pounded diamond, meaning to kill me ; 
and I sent him by one of his servants some of the 
dust which was left. But I did not tell him that 1 
knew it was not diamond dust. I said that they had 
certainly poisoned me because my good friend the 
castellan was dead. So for the little time I still had 
tc live, I begged him to give me one of his loaves 
every day ; for I did not wish to eat anything more 
that came from them. He promised to send me food 
from his table. 

Messer Antonio, who was certainly not aware of 
the plot, made a great noise about it, and requested 
to be shown the powdered stone, thinking, like the 
rest, that it was really diamond dust. But after- 
wards, fearing that the Pope was the instigator of 
the plot, he let it pass as a mere trifle, when he had 
thought over the matter. After that I ate the food 
sent me by the Bishop ; and continued writing my 
Capitolo on the prison, setting down each day, 
point by point, every new thing that happened to 
me. Now Messer Antonio sent me food as well, by 
the hand of Giovanni, the Prato apothecary I have 


mentioned, who was here as a soldier. This man 
had a great ill-will to me ; indeed it was he who 
brought me the powdered diamond. So I told him 
I would eat nothing he brought me, unless he first 
ate some himself. He answered me that it was for 
Popes to have their food tasted. Whereupon I 
answered that, as noblemen are obliged to do this 
service to the Pope, he, a soldier, an apothecary, a 
mean Prato fellow, must not refuse to do it for a 
Florentine like me. He threw insolent words at 
me in reply ; but I was a match for him in that. 
Messer Antonio, who was somewhat ashamed of the 
affair, especially as he intended making me pay the 
expenses of my keep — which the poor dead castellan 
had let me off — employed another servant to bring 
my victuals. This man, who was friendly to me, 
willingly tasted my food without arguing the point. 
He told me how the Pope was worried every day 
by Monsignor de Montluc, who was continually 
asking for me for his King ; but that the Pope had 
little fancy to give me up ; and that the Cardinal 
Farnese, formerly my patron and friend, had been 
heard to say that I need not count on getting out of 
prison yet a while. Thereupon I said Fd be out in 
despite of them all. Then the worthy fellow begged 
me to be quiet, and not let any one hear me saying 
such a thing, for it would be against me. He 
counselled me, since I had put my faith in God, to 
await His mercy in quietness. I answered him that 
the power of God had no need to tremble before the 
malice of the unjust. 

cxxvii. A few days passed, and the Cardinal of 
Ferrara appeared in Rome. He went to do reverence 
to the Pope, who kept him so long that supper time 
came on ; for his Holiness, who was a very able 
man, wished to talk over French affairs at leisure 
with him. Now at table people say things which 
otherwise they would leave unsaid. So was it now. 


The great King Francis was always most liberal in 
his dealings ; and the Cardinal, who knew his 
character well, made promises on his behalf far 
bevond the Pope's expectations. So his Holiness 
was in high spirits about this. Besides, once a week, 
it was his habit to indulge in a great debauch, after 
which he vomited. So when the Cardinal saw the 
Pope was in a humour to confer favours, he asked 
for me in the name of his master with great insist- 
ence, bringing proof that King Francis had a strong 
feeling in the matter. Then the Pope, knowing the 
moment for vomiting was at hand — and besides his 
deep potations were also having their effect — said to 
the Cardinal with a great laugh, " You shall take him 
home with you this instant " ; and having given 
express orders to this effect, he rose from the table. 
So the Cardinal sent for me at once, before Signor 
Pier Luigi should hear of it ; for he certainly would 
have put a stop to my coming out. The Pope's 
messenger arrived along with two great noblemen 
belonging to the suite of the Cardinal of Ferrara ; 
and at past four of the night, they took me out of 
prison and brought me to their patron, who gave me 
the warmest welcome. There I was well lodged, and 
I stayed in comfort. 

Messer Antonio, the castellan's brother and sub- 
stitute, forced me to pay all my expenses, and also 
the gratuities which the police officials and such like 
persons are used to expect in cases Hke mine ; nor 
would he pay any heed to the directions left by 
the castellan on this head. The business cost me 
many scores of crowns ; but the Cardinal said I must 
be prudent if I valued my life ; and he told me that 
if he had not dug me out of prison that very evening, 
I should not have been released. Already he had 
heard that the Pope much lamented having let 
me go. 

cxxviii. I must now turn back a step to tell of 


certain circumstances which will be found in my 
Capitolo. While I was staying those few days in 
the apartments of the Cardinal, and afterwards in the 
private garden of the Pope, among other dear friends 
who came to see me was a cashier of Messer Bindo 
Altoviti, Bernardo Galluzzi by name. Now I had 
entrusted several hundreds of crowns to him ; so he 
came to me in the Pope's garden and wanted to 
return the whole sum. But I told him that I did 
not know any better friend to whom to entrust my 
property, nor any safer place. Yet he appeared to 
be unwilling to the last degree ; and I had almost to 
use force to make him keep it. Now when I was out 
of the castle for good, I found that this poor young 
Bernardo Galluzzi was ruined ; and so I lost my 
money. While I was in prison I dreamt a terrible 
dream, in which some one seemed to write words of 
the utmost meaning on my forehead with a pen ; and 
the writer commanded me thrice to keep silence, and 
to tell the matter to no man. When I awoke I 
found my forehead marked. In my Capitolo on the 
prison I have told a great many things of the kind. 
For instance, I heard (though I did not know the 
meaning of the message) all that afterwards happened 
to Signor Pier Luigi, and this so clearly, and so pre- 
cisely, that, for myself, I believe it was, indeed, an angel 
from Heaven who told it to me. Nor must I leave 
out one thing, the greatest surely that ever happened 
to any man ; for I would justify the divinity of God 
and of His secrets, Who deemed me worthy. From 
the time when I saw the great vision till now, there 
has remained a splendour (Oh wondrous thing !) 
about my head ; and this is plain to all to whom I have 
thought well to point it out — but these are very few. 
It is visible above my shadow in the morning, at 
sunrise, and for two hours after, and still clearer 
when there is dew upon the grass. In the evening, 
too, at sunset, it can be seen. I became aware of it 


first in France, when I was in Paris ; for the air in 
those parts is much freer from haze than in Italy, 
where we have many more mists. Nevertheless, in 
every circumstance I can see it, and show it to 
others, too, though less clearly than when I was in 

I will now set down my Capitolo made in prison, 
and in praise of the prison ; after which I will go on 
to relate the good and evil which I have experienced 
from time to time ; and I hope one day to add things 
which have still to happen in my life. 

This Capitolo I inscribe to Luca Martini, 

AND it is to him I SPEAK THEREIN. 

Whoe'er would know the measure of God's strength, 

And how far man can borrow from that source. 

He must in prison lie, I firmly hold, 
Harrow'd by thinking of his kindred dear. 

Wearied and sick with his own body's pain ; 

And far must be his exile from his home. 
Now if you fain would prove yourself of worth. 

Be dragg'd to prison guiltless ; and there lie 

Month after month, while no man lends you aid. 
And let them rob you of your little all. 

While you face death and outrage every day. 

Hopeless of any bettering of your fate. 
Be hurl'd perforce upon a desperate deed — 

Break prison — leap from the high castle wall. 

Be then led back to a more hideous cell. 
Listen, my Luca ; now I tell the best : 

Your leg is broken ; you've been trick'd ; 

You shiver in the damp without a cloak. 
No kindly word ; but an there be ill news. 

The warder brings it with your meat. (The boor 

Not long ago in Prato mix'd his drugs). 
But fame's not yours without a further test. 

The stool's your only chair ; there may you sit 

And waste your quick invention in this void, 


The warder has his rules. No word of yours 

He hears ; will give you naught ; scarce dares the 

To ope enough to let his body through. 

*Tis fine diversion ! Paper, pens, and ink, 
And tools and fire you'll ask in vain. 
Although a whole life's thoughts seek outlet free. 

Ah, pity 'tis, my words so little tell ! 

Count as an hundred every ill I've named ; 
And each I could discourse on with good cause. 

But to return to my first plan, and sing 

What praises to the prison house are due — 
Ah, here an angel's tongue doth scarce suffice ! 

No honest men are here, save those confin'd 
By tyrant rulers or their creatures vile, 
Malign'd by envy, hate, and cursed spite. 

To tell the truth as I discern it now — 

Here God is known, and every wretch doth cry 
Aloud to Him to ease the pains of Hell. 

Whate'er ill fame he's gotten in the world. 
Let a man lie in prison two sad years. 
He'll come out holy, wise, belov'd by all. 

Here soul and flesh and garments arc refin'd ; 
Here is the grossest sight etherealised. 
Till mortal man can see the thrones of Heaven. 

Listen, a wonder now I tell to you — 
One day it came into my head to write ; 
But I had to invent a strange device. 

I walk about my cell with puzzled mien ; 

Then turning towards the door see there a slit, 
I bite a splinter off — and there's my pen. 

By luck, a piece of brick lies on the floor. 
A portion of it, ground to powder fine 
And mixed with water, makes my ink. 

Then, then, the fire of Poesy divine 

Enters my frame — by the same way, methinks. 
Whence bread goes out. What other way was there ? 

But to return to my first fantasy — 

'Tis certain truth that ere he knows the good, 
A man must learn the ill ordain'd for him. 

Prison's the home and school of every art. 


Would you fain know the leech's craft ? 

Your very life-blood here you'll sweat away. 
There is about it a strong natural power 

To lend your speech audacious eloquence, 

Laden with thoughts sublime for good and ill. 
Happy the man who in a gloomy cell 

Doth linger long ! When he at last comes out, 

Fine can he talk of war, of truce, of peace. 
And all things then must needs go well with him. 

Ripe in the prison has his talent grown ; 

Thenceforth no trifler, feather-brained, is he, 
It may be said, Thou hast those years the less : 

'Tis not in dungeons thou shalt learn the way 

To make thee a full man in mind and soul. 
For me, 1*11 praise it heartily, and yet 

Protest : the law that prisons innocence 

Should not allow the guilty man go free. 
Who hath the poor and lowly in his power 

Should learn his business in the prison school. 

There are the lessons of good ruling taught. 
Reason would shape his acts for evermore. 

And in the path of justice he*d walk straight, 

Nor would he breed confusion and dispeacc. 
And while I have been lodging here, Fvc seen 

A crew of friars, priests, and men-at-arms ; 

But plenteous lack of those deserving jail. 
Oh, the sore grief to see the prison door 

Open for one of them, keep shut for you ! 

Then you lament that ever you were born. 
I say no more. I am become fine gold 

That may not spend itself too recklessly. 

But must be sav'd and shap'd to perfect work. 
And now another thing has cross'd my mind 

That I've not told you, Luca mine, — The book 

I wrote this in, one of our kindred lent. 
There in the margins I set down the tale 

Of the long pain that has my body maim'd ;— 

Too slow therefor, my brick-dust ink did run. 
Only to make an O, three times I dipp'd 

The splinter. Say, can they be vex^d more, 

The wretched spirits chain'd in Hell below ? 


Before me have the guiltless been condemn'd ; 
Therefore I stop my plaint, and sing once more 
The cell where grief gnaws at my heart and brain 

I sing its praises louder than the rest ; 

And let the untried learn from me, whoVe prov'd 
That prison is the very school of worth. 

Yet would He come, of Whom of late I've read. 
To say, as once He said beside the pool, 
** Rise, Benvenuto, take thy cloak and go ! " 

Salve reginas, credos I would sing, 

And pater nosters. Every day the poor, 

The blind, the lame, should be my pensioners. 

How often have the lilies blanch'd my check 
To death-like hue ! They bar to me the sight 
Of Florence and of France for evermore. 

Should e'er I find upon the hospital wall 
The Annunciation limn'd, then must I fly, 
Lest Gabriel's lily rouse the brute in me. 

I do not speak of her, holy and wise, 
Nor of her lilies glorious and pure. 
Shining to light our earth and Heaven above. 

But wheresoe'er I turn, there meet my eyes 
Those with the hook-like petals. Much I fear 
There are too many for the common health. 

Crowds of companions have I in my woe. 
Spirits born free, high-hearted, and divine. 
Yet from their birth the slaves of this device. 

I saw these deathly arms like thunderbolt 

Fall swift from Heaven among a people vain ; 
Then in the wall a great new light did shine. 

Broken the castle bell must be before 

I am releas'd ; and this I know from Him 
Who all things doth make plain in Heaven and 

And then a dark bier I beheld bestrewn 
With shattered lilies ; all the signs of woe 
Were there, and stricken folk that lay upon their 

And her I saw who wounds and frets the souls ; 
Terror she struck, now here, now there, and said, 
" See me deal death to such as work thee harm." 


Then 'twas the angel on my forehead wrote 
With Peter's pen those words that thrice 
He bade me secret keep in mine own heart. 

And him who guides the chariot of the sun. 
Clothed in its glory, standing 'mid his court, 
I saw as mortal eyes ne'er saw before. 

Then chirped a solitary sparrow loud 

Upon the keep ; and I took heart and cried, 
"Life he foretells to me — and to you death.'* 

The story of my woes I sang and wrote, 
Asking of God His pardon and His aid. 
For now in death my eyes seemed fading fast. 

Was never lion, tiger, wolf, or bear 

Had such a thirst of human blood as he ; 
Nor ever viper had such venomous sting. 

Merciless captain of a robber band ! 

Where all were bad, the greatest rascal he ! 
But hush ! I may not speak his name aloud. 

Have you seen greedy bailiffs fall upon 

A poor man's house, his chattels to distrain, 
And hurl the holy pictures from the walls ? 

So on the first of August did they come 
To drag me to a yet more noisome tomb. 
Wait, for November all your spite defies ! 

A trumpet sounded in my cars, and I 

Declared to them the truth that was rcveai'd, 
Nought recking save my grievous pain to ease. 

Then, desperate to attain their end, they took 
A diamond from its setting, pounded it. 
And mixed it with my food that I might die. 

1 forced the low-bred villain who did bring 
My meat, to taste it first, then said, 
" Not this my enemy Durante meant." 

But first I rais'd my thoughts to God on high. 
Asking His pardon for my every sin. 
And, weeping, " Miserere ! " cried to Him. 

Then, somewhat quieted my pain, my soul 
I gave into God's keeping, willingly 
Content to seek a better land, another state. 

I saw an angel coming down from Heaven, 
Bearing a glorious palm ; with joyful face. 


" Thou'lt bear thy body's burden yet awhile,'* 
He said ; " for God shall scatter every foe 

Of thine, waging with them a bitter war. 

But thou, happy and free, art bless'd by Him, 
Father in Heaven above, and Earth beneath." 







i. I stayed on in the palace of the Cardinal of 
Ferrara, regarded by every one with the friendliest 
eye, and much more sought after than I had been 
before ; for I was a greater wonder than ever now 
that I had lived through such unspeakable trials. 
While I was getting back my strength, and striving 
to bring my mind once more to my art, I took the 
greatest pleasure in writing out the Capitolo fairly. 
Then, that I might the sooner recover my health, I 
resolved to go for a few days' jaunt in the open air. 
So, with the leave of my good Cardinal, who also 
provided me with horses, I set off with two young 
Romans. One was a worker in my own craft ; the 
other was not in the trade, but only came to bear me 
company. We left Rome, and went off in the direc- 
tion of Tagliacozzo, to pay a visit to my pupil 
Ascanio. There I found him, together with his 
father, brothers, sisters, and stepmother. For two 
days I was entertained by them with the utmost 
hospitality ; and then I departed on my return 


journey, taking Ascanio along with me. On the 
road we began to talk about art, which set me long- 
ing to be back in Rome and at my work again. 

As soon as we arrived, I set to without delay, and 
managed to lay my hands on a silver basin which I 
had begun for the Cardinal before I was in prison. 
Along with the basin, I had been working on a very 
beautiful little pitcher ; but this had been stolen 
along with a great number of other valuable things. 
I set Pagolo to work on the basin, while I took up 
the jug again. The ornament on it consisted of 
figures in the round and low reliefs. The basin was 
in like style, having figures in high, and fishes in low 
relief; and so rich was it, and so exquisitely contrived, 
that all who saw it were astounded both by the 
vigour and fancy of the design, and by the precision 
of the young men's work. The Cardinal used to 
come at least twice a day to see me ; and with him 
came Messer Luigi Alamanni and Messer Gabriel 
Cesano ; and many a pleasant hour did we spend thus 
together. Notwithstanding that I had a deal of 
work in hand, he thrust new commissions upon me, 
one of these being an order for the pontifical seal, 
which was to be as large as a twelve-year-old boy's 
hand. On it I traced in intagHo two designs. One 
represented St. John preaching in the wilderness, the 
other St. Ambrogio pursuing the Arians. The saint 
was on horseback, and had a whip in his hand. So 
vigorously was it designed, and so precisely was it 
carried out, that everybody said I had surpassed the 
great Lautizio, who stood alone in this branch of art. 
The Cardinal took great pride in it, and was always 
comparing it with the other Cardinals' seals in Rome, 
which were mostly from the hand of this Lautizio. 

ii. Then, besides these, the Cardinal ordered me 
to make the model of a salt-cellar ; but it was not to 
be after the usual pattern of such things. Concern- 
ing the design for this, Messer Luigi spoke admir- 



ably i and on the same subject Messer Gabriello 
Cesano made some excellent remarks. The Car- 
dinal, a most kind listener, was very much impressed 
with the plans which these two distinguished men 
described in words. So he turned to me and said, 
" Benvenuto, my friend, Messer Luigi's design, and 
Messer Gabriello's too, please me so much that I do 
not know which of them to choose. So I leave the 
decision to you, since you have to carry out the 
work." Whereupon I replied, " Reflect, my lord, of 
what great importance are the sons of kmgs and 
emperors, and what marvellous splendour and divinity 
appear in them ! Nevertheless, if you ask a poor 
lowly shepherd which he loves and cherishes most, 
those kings' sons or his own, he will certainly tell 
you he loves his own children best. So I, too, 
cherish the children born of my own art. There- 
fore, the first design which I will show you, mon- 
signor, my most reverend patron, shall be my own 
work, and of my own imagining ; for many things 
are fine in words which, were they carried out, 
would produce but a poor effect." Then I turned 
to the two men of letters and said, " Yours the 
words ; mine the work." Messer Luigi Alamanni 
smiled, and with the greatest good-humour paid me 
many apt compliments ; and it became him so to do, 
for he was a fine-looking man in fece and figure, and 
had the pleasantest voice. Messer Gabriello Cesano 
was just the reverse, being as ugly and disagreeable 
as possible ; and he spoke as he looked. Messer Luigi 
had proposed I should make a Venus and Cupid, 
together with diverse symbols of gallantry befitting 
the subject. Messer Gabriello's idea was an Amphi- 
trite, Neptune's wife, with the sea-god's Tritons, 
and a great deal else very pretty to talk about, but 
useless for an actual design. Well, first I made an 
oval, a good deal more than half a cubit long, about 
two-thirds ; and on this oval, with the idea of showing 

^ 277 


the embrace of the Sea and the Land, I made two 
figures, somewhat more than a palm in height, sitting 
with their legs intertwined, just as you can observe 
long arms of the sea running up into the land. The 
Sea was figured by a man with a richly carved ship 
in his hand, which was conveniently arranged to 
hold a quantity of salt. Under him I had placed the 
four sea-horses ; and in his right hand I had put his 
trident. The Earth I had represented as a woman, 
the most beautiful and graceful I could fashion or 
even conceive of. Near her I had placed a richly 
adorned temple, on which she rested her hand. This 
I intended for holding the pepper. In her other 
hand was a cornucopia decorated with every lovely 
ornament imaginable. Beneath this goddess, in 
the part which was meant to represent land, I had 
grouped all the fairest animals which the earth brings 
forth ; while on the sea side, I had designed every 
sort of beautiful fish and shell which I could get into 
the small space. The rest of the oval I decorated 
elaborately. Then I awaited the Cardinal ; and when 
he came with his two distinguished friends, I dis- 
played my work in wax. Messer Gabriel Cesano 
was the first to lift up his voice. " This is something 
that would never be finished in the lifetime of ten 
men," he cried. " And as for you, most reverend 
monsignor, you may desire it, but you'll never have 
it. For Benvenuto has thought well to show you the 
mere shadow of his children, not to give them to you 
,in their actual shape, which was our idea. We spoke 
of practicable things ; but his design suggests what 
could not possibly be carried out." Messer Luigi 
Alamanni took my part ; but the Cardinal said the 
undertaking was too elaborate for him. Then I 
turned to them and said, " Most reverend monsignor, 
and you gentlemen, so full of learning as you are, I 
declare to you that I have every hope of carrying out 
this work for its destined possessor ; and each man of 



you shall one day see it finished a hundred times 
more richly than the model. Indeed, I hope time 
may be left me to do much greater things than this." 
The Cardinal answered impatiently, " If it is not for 
the King, to whom I am going to take you, I don't 
think you are likely to make it for any one else." 
Then he showed me letters from King Francis, 
wherein he was bid return immediately and bring 
Benvenuto with him. Lifting my hands to heaven, 
I cried, " Oh, when will that ' immediately ' come ? " 
The Cardinal told me to make my arrangements and 
hasten the settlement of my affairs in Rome during 
the next ten days. 

iii. When the time of departure was at hand, he 
gave me an excellent horse, called Tornon, after 
Cardinal Tornon, who had given it to him. Pagolo, 
too, and Ascanio, my pupils, were provided with 
mounts. The Cardinal divided his train, which was 
very numerous. One part, consisting of those of 
higher rank, went with him ; and they took the road 
through Romagna, that he might make a pilgrimage 
to the Madonna of Loreto, and from there travel to 
his own home at Ferrara. The other part took the 
Florence road. This was the larger section, com- 
prising a great number of men and the best of his 
horsemen. He advised me that, if I would go in 
safety, I had best go with him, for otherwise I should 
be in danger of my hfe ; and I told his lordship that 
I most willingly accepted. But what Heaven ordains 
must needs come to pass ; and it pleased God to re- 
call to my mind my poor sister in the flesh, who had 
sorrowed much over my misfortunes. I remembered 
too my cousins who were nuns in Viterbo, the one 
abbess and the other treasurer, so that between them 
they had all the governing of that rich convent. 
They had been heavily aflflicted on my account, and 
had oftered up many prayers for me ; so that I held 
the firm belief I had obtained of God the grace of 



my release through the petitions of those poor 
virgins. And so, all these things coming back to 
my mind, I set my face towards Florence ; and 
though I should have gone free of expense, either 
w^ith the Cardinal, or in his second train, I deter- 
mined rather to go by myself. I travelled in the 
company of a celebrated clockmaker called Maestro 
Cherubino, a great friend of mine. Meeting by 
chance, we made the journey very pleasantly together. 

Setting out from Rome the Monday in Passion 
week, we — that is Pagolo, Ascanio, and myself — 
travelled by ourselves till we fell in with this com- 
panion at Monte Ruosi. Now as I had declared my 
intention of going with the Cardinal, I never thought 
of any of my enemies lying in wait for me. Never- 
theless it was nearly going very ill with me at 
Monte Ruosi ; for a band of well-armed men had 
been sent on in front of us to do me a hurt. As 
God willed, having heard I was on the road, and not 
in the Cardinal's train, they planned to attack me 
while we were at dinner. Just then the Cardinal's 
train came up, and very glad I was to go on in safety 
with them to Viterbo. From there onward I had 
no further thought of danger, especially as I travelled 
several miles in front, and the best men in the 
retinue kept a good look-out on me. So by God's 
grace I reached Viterbo safe and sound ; and there my 
cousins made much of me, as did the whole convent. 

iv. I left Viterbo with the afore-named persons, 
and we went on our way on horseback, now in front 
of, and now behind the Cardinal's train ; so that on 
Maundy Thursday at twenty-two o'clock we found 
ourselves at one stage from Siena. There we fell in 
with some return horses, and the post folk were 
waiting to hire them out for a trifling sum to any 
one who would take them back to the post at Siena. 
When I learnt this, I got down from my own 
Tornon, put my saddle-cushion and stirrups on one 



of these horses, and gave a giulio to the stable-boy, 
I left my own horse to my young men to bring on, 
and set off in front of them in order to reach Siena 
half an hour sooner, as I had some friends to see and 
some business to attend to. Yet though I went at a 
fair pace, I did not ride the horse too hard. As soon 
as I came to the town, I hired good rooms at the inn 
for five persons, bidding the ostler take the horse to the 
post, which was outside the Camollia gate, but for- 
getting to remove my stirrups and saddle-cushion. 

We passed the evening of Maundy Thursday very 
pleasantly. Then next morning, which was Good 
Friday, I bethought me of my stirrups and cushion. 
When I sent for them, the postmaster said that he 
would not return them, for I had overheated his 
horse. Several times messages were sent to and fro ; 
and always the man refused to give the things back 
to me, using, besides, very insulting and insupportable 
language. The host of my inn said to me, " You'll 
come off well, if all he does is to keep your property"; 
and he added, " You must know that he is the greatest 
brute that ever lived in this city ; and he has two 
sons, very daring soldier fellows, still more violent 
than himself. So buy what you want, and go on 
your way without another word on this matter." 
Well, I bought a pair of stirrups, thinking that by 
means of soft words I should have my good cushion 
again. Now I had an excellent mount, and was 
well armed with under-coat and sleeves of mail, and 
I carried a magnificent arquebuse at my saddle- 
bow. So I was not afraid of the violence of the 
mad beast whom my host had described to me. I 
had also accustomed my young fellows to wear mail 
"under-coats and sleeves ; and I had the fullest trust 
in the young Roman, who, I believed, had never left 
his off while we were in Rome. And Ascanio, too, 
though he was but a boy, wore mail. Besides, as it 
was Good Friday, I thought that madmen might be 



released from their folly on such a day. So we 
reached the CamoUia gate, and there I saw the post- 
master, recognising him by certain signs which had 
been given me. For one thing, he was blind of the 
left eye. I rode forward to meet him, leaving my 
young men and my other companions some way off, 
and accosted him civilly. " Postmaster, since I swear 
to you that I have not over-ridden your horse, why 
will you not return me my cushion and my stirrups ? " 
Whereupon he answered just in the mad fashion I 
had been told to expect ; so I demanded, " How 
now ! are you no Christian ? Will you on Good 
Friday bring scandal both on yourself and me ? " 
He said he did not care a hang for Good Friday or 
Devil's Friday ; and he swore that if I did not get 
out of this, he'd knock me down with a halbert he 
had seized, yes, me and my gun too, which I had in 
my hand. At these violent words up came an old 
gentleman of Siena. He was clad as a citizen, and 
was on his way back from performing the customary 
devotions of the day. While he was still some way 
from us, he had heard all my arguments perfectly ; 
and so he began to reprove the master of the post 
with heat, taking my part, and crying shame on the 
man's two sons for failing in their duty to passing 
strangers. Such conduct as theirs was in defiance of 
God, he said, and to the discredit of the city of 
Siena. The two sons shook their heads, and with- 
out saying anything disappeared into the house. 
Their father, in a fury of exasperation at the words 
of the worthy gentleman, uttered the most shameless 
blasphemies, pointed his halbert at me, and swore he 
would have my life. Seeing his murderous intention, 
in order to keep him ofF me a little, I made as if to 
aim my gun at him. This roused him to still 
greater fury, and he threw himself upon me. Now 
though I held the gun in my hand ready for my 
defence, I had not lowered it quite on his level ; its 


muzzle was too high. But it went off of itself; 
the ball struck the arch of the door, and, ricochetting, 
struck him in the windpipe, so that he fell down 
dead. Out ran the two sons on the instant ; and one 
armed himself from the stand of weapons, the other 
seized his father's halbert ; and both threw themselves 
on my young fellows. The son with the halbert 
first attacked Pagolo the Roman, striking him above 
the left breast. The other ran against a Milan man 
who was in our company, a very foolish-looking 
person. In vain he pleaded that he had no connection 
with me, and defended himself from the point of a 
partisan with a little stick he had in his hand ; he 
could not escape a slight wound in the mouth. 
Messer Cherubino was dressed as a priest ; for though, 
as I have said, he was a past master in the clock- 
maker's art, he held benefices from the Pope, which 
brought him in a good income. Ascanio, who was 
well armed, made no attempt at flight, as the Milanese 
had done. But neither he nor Cherubino were 
hurt. I had put spurs to my horse ; and while 
galloping I had made haste to load my gun once 
more. Then I turned madly back ; for it seemed to 
me I had been treating the matter too lightly, and 
now I meant to go through with it in earnest. 
I thought that my two young companions had been 
killed, and I was determined to die with them. But 
my horse had not made many paces backwards, when 
I met them coming towards me. I asked them if 
they were hurt. Ascanio replied that Pagolo was 
mortally wounded by a halbert. Then I said, " O 
Pagolo, my son, did the halbert pierce your coat of 
mail ? " " No," he said, " for I put the mail in my 
baggage this morning." "So," said I, "mail coats 
are for wearing in Rome, when you make yourselves 
fine for the ladies ; but in dangerous places where 
they'd be of some use, you keep them in your 
baggage ! You have got no more than you deserve, 


and it's you who are sending me back to my death." 
Even while speaking these words, I was dashing for- 
ward. Ascanio and the others begged me, for the 
love of God, to save my own life and theirs ; for of a 
surety. I was going to my death. Just then I met 
with Messer Cherubino and the wounded Milanese. 
The clockmaker called out to me at once that nobody 
was much hurt, that Pagolo*s was only a surface 
wound. But he said the old man of the post lay 
dead on the ground ; his two sons and other persons 
were preparing for revenge ; and we were all doomed 
to be cut to pieces. "So then, Benvenuto, since 
Fortune has saved us from this first fury, do not 
tempt her again ; else she will have no mercy on us." 
And I answered, " If you are content, so am I " ; 
and, turning to Pagolo and Ascanio, I said to them, 
"Spur on your horses, and let us gallop to Staggia 
without stopping. There we shall be safe." Then 
the wounded Milan man burst out, " Devil take our 
sins ! For this wound of mine is all on account of 
that trifle of meat broth I took yesterday, when I 
had nothing else to eat." In spite of the great 
tribulations we had come through, we could not but 
laugh somewhat at this fool and at the foolish things 
he said. Then, setting spurs to our horses, we left 
Messer Cherubino and the Milanese to come on at 
their leisure. 

V. Meanwhile the dead man's sons ran to the 
Duke of Amalfi, and asked for some light cavalry, 
that they might overtake us and seize our persons. 
But the Duke, having learnt we were the Cardinal 
of Ferrara's men, would give neither horses nor leave. 
And we in the meantime reached Staggia, where we 
were safe. On our arrival there we sought out a 
doctor, the best to be had in the place ; and when he 
examined Pagolo, it was found that his wound was 
only skin deep, and that there was no danger. As 
soon as we had ordered dinner, in came Messer 


Cherubino with that fool of a Milan man, who kept 
saying, " Deuce take your quarrels ! " and moaning 
that he was excommunicated because he had not been 
able to say a single Paternoster that holy morning. 
Now he had a very ugly face ; and his mouth, 
naturally large, had been slit up three inches more 
by his wound ; so that between his antic Milanese 
speech and his silly utterances, instead of lamenting 
our misfortunes, we couldn't help laughing at every 
word he said. When the doctor wanted to sew up 
his wound, and had already made three stitches, he 
cried out to him to stop a bit, since he didn't want 
him to play the trick on him of sewing his mouth up 
altogether. Then, seizing a spoon, he told him he 
must leave a big enough opening for it to get in ; so 
that he might return alive to his own people. Now 
he said all this with such funny shakings of the head, 
that we forgot our ill luck, and laughed without 
stopping. And in this merry humour we went on 
our way to Florence. There we got down at the 
house of my poor sister, and were most affectionately 
received by her and by my brother-in-law. 

Messer Cherubino and the Milanese went about 
their own affairs. We stayed in Florence four days, 
during which time Pagolo got better. It was a 
curious thing, that every time we talked of that 
Milanese fool, we laughed just as much as we lamented 
over our ill luck ; so that we kept on laughing and 
crying at the same time. Pagolo quickly got well, 
as I have said ; and then we set our faces towards 
Ferrara, where we found our Cardinal had not yet 
arrived. But when he heard of all our misfortunes, 
and was condoling with us, he said, " God grant that 
I may bring you alive to the King, as I have 
promised ! " In Ferrara the Cardinal assigned to me 
one of his palaces, a very fine place, called Belfiore, 
close to the city walls j and there he gave me every- 
thing I needed for my work. But afterwards he 
K* 285 


prepared to depart without me ; and, perceiving I was 
very ill content, he said to me, " Benvenuto, all I do 
is for your good. For before I take you away from 
Italy, I wish you to be quite clear what you are meant 
to do in France. So in the meanwhile hurry on as 
fast as you can with my basin and ewer. I shall 
leave orders with my steward to give you all you may 
have need of." 

Then he set off, and I remained behind very ill 
pleased. Indeed many a time I was on the point of 
taking French leave. The only thing that hindered 
me was the recollection that he had freed me from 
the clutches of Pope Paul. As for the rest, I 
remained much dissatisfied, and very much a loser. 
However, I clung to the thought of the gratitude 
due to the benefit I had received ; and disposed myself 
to be patient, and see what would be the end of the 
business. So setting to work with my two young 
men, I got on wonderfully with the jug and basin. 
In the place where we were lodged, the air was bad ; 
and as summer came on we were all out of sorts. 
During our indisposition we wandered about examin- 
ing the demesne, which was very large and left wild 
for nearly a mile of open country ; and there a great 
number of tame peacocks bred like wild birds. When 
I saw this, I loaded my gun with a certain noiseless 
powder, and lay in wait for the young ones. Every 
other day I killed one, which not only provided us 
with abundance of food, but was of such fine quality 
that all our sickness left us. And so we stayed on 
for several months, working cheerfully, and making 
progress with the jug and the basin, which were 
elaborate works that took a great deal of time. 

vi. Just then the Duke of Ferrara and Pope Paul 
of Rome made up some of their old differences con- 
cerning Modena and certain other cities. In these 
disputes the Church had so much right on its side 
that the Duke had to make peace bv paying up a. 


mint of money, more than three hundred thousand 
ducats of the Camera, I believe. Now at this time 
the Duke had an old treasurer called Messer Girolamo 
Giliolo, who had been brought up by his father, 
Duke Alfonso. The old fellow could not bear the 
thought of all this money going to the Pope ; and 
used to go crying about the streets that Duke Alfonso, 
the present Duke's father, would sooner have taken 
Rome wi th the money than have let the Pope get a sight 
of it ; and that there was no way of making him pay it 
out. In the end, when the Duke forced him to pay, 
the old man fell so ill with dysentery, that he was 
brought nigh unto death. While he was lying ill, 
the Duke called me, and ordered me to make a like- 
ness of himself. This I did on a round black stone, 
about the size of a small trencher. He took so much 
pleasure in my work, as well as in the many pleasant 
conversations we had together, that often he would 
sit for his portrait for four or five hours on end ; and 
sometimes he made me sup at his own table. In 
eight days I had finished the head ; and then he 
ordered me to do the reverse, on which was a figure 
of Peace, represented by a woman, with a torch in her 
hand, burning a trophy of arms. She stood in a joy- 
ful attitude, full of exquisite grace, and clad in 
thinnest raiment. Under her feet was desperate Fury 
bound with many chains. I gave much pains to this 
work, and it brought me the greatest honour. The 
Duke could not tell me often enough how pleased he 
was ; and he provided me with the legends for both 
sides. The one for the reverse was Pretiosa in 
conspectu Domini^ which was as much as to say that 
the peace had been bought with a deal of money ! 

vii. Just when I had the reverse in hand, the 
Cardinal wrote to me, telling me to be in readiness, 
for the King had asked for me, and that his next 
letters would explain everything he had promised. 
So I had my basin and my jug well packed up j for I 



had already shown them to the Duke. The Car- 
dinal's business man was a Ferrarese gentleman, 
Messer Alberto Bendedio by name, who had been a 
prisoner in his house for twelve years on account of 
some infirmity. One day he sent for me in the 
greatest hurry, and bade me take the post immediately 
and go to the King, who had asked for me most 
pressingly, thinking I was already in France. The 
Cardinal, to excuse himself, had said I was staying 
behind in an abbey of his at Lyons, somewhat indis- 
posed ; but that he would contrive that I should 
come speedily to his Majesty. That was the reason 
he urged me to come on by the post at once. This 
Messer Alberto was a most worthy man ; but he was 
proud, and through his malady his arrogance had 
grown intolerable. And so, as I say, he ordered me 
to get ready at once and travel with the post. To 
this I replied that my art was not carried on in the 
post 5 and if I had to go, I would go at my leisure, 
taking with me Ascanio and Pagolo, my workmen, 
whom I had brought from Rome. Besides, I should 
need a serving-man on horseback to attend me, and 
as much money as would take me to my journey's 
end. Then the infirm old man answered me in the 
haughtiest accents, that just in the manner I had 
described, the sons of the Duke were wont to travel. 
Thereupon I answered that the sons of my craft were 
used to go as I had said ; that not being the son of a 
duke, I did not know the customs of such ; also that 
if he used such language in my hearing, I would not 
go at all. The Cardinal having broken faith, and 
now this insolence being cast at me, I made up my 
mind not to trouble myself any more with the 
Ferrarese. So I turned my back on him ; and I 
muttering, and he threatening, I took my leave. 
Then I went to see the Duke, taking him his medal, 
now finished ; and received more compliments in 
return than were ever paid to any man whatsoever. 


Now he had ordered Girolamo Giliolo to find a 
diamond ring worth two hundred crowns for my 
trouble, and to give it to his chamberlain Fiaschino, 
who should hand it to me. And Messer Girolamo 
obeyed. Well, Fiaschino, on the evening of the day 
when I had handed over the medal, about an hour 
after sunset, brought me a ring, set with a very showy 
diamond, and also the following message from the 
Duke : " Let the unique hand of the artist which 
wrought with such skill, be adorned with this diamond 
in remembrance of his Excellency." When daylight 
came, I looked at the ring j and found it was a poor, 
thin diamond worth maybe ten crowns. Now I did 
not wish those fine words which the Duke had used 
to be associated with so poor a reward ; for I was 
certain he had meant to treat me well, and I felt sure 
the ring came from his rascally treasurer. So I gave 
it to one of my friends to return to Fiaschino, the 
chamberlain, as best as he could. My friend, who 
was Bernardo Saliti, did the business perfectly. Then 
Fiaschino came to see me, and with loud protestations, 
said that, if the Duke knew I had returned like that 
a present which he had so kindly given me, he would 
take it very ill, and perhaps I should live to repent 
it. I answered him that the ring which his Excel- 
lency had given me was worth about ten crowns ; and 
that the work I had done for him was worth more 
than two hundred. But to show the Duke that I 
appreciated his courtesy, he had only to send me a 
ring for the cramp — of the sort that came from Eng- 
land, and are worth about a carlin — and that I should 
keep all my life in remembrance of his Excellency, 
along with the esteemed message which he had sent 
to me. For I held that the honour of serving so 
splendid a prince had amply paid me for all my 
trouble ; but that mean jewel was an insult. These 
words so annoyed the Duke, that he called for his 
treasurer, and gave him a sounder rating than ever he 


had done in his life before. Then he ordered me, 
under pain of his displeasure, not to leave Ferrara 
without telling him ; and he bade his treasurer give 
me a diamond of the value of three hundred crowns. 
The miserly fellow found one worth hardly more 
than sixty ; but gave out that it cost upwards of two 

viii. Meanwhile Messer Alberto had recovered his 
temper, and had provided me with all I had asked 
for. That very day I was determined to leave 
Ferrara at all hazards ; but the busybody of a 
chamberlain arranged with Messer Alberto that I 
should have no horses. I had piled up my baggage 
on a mule, packing in it the basin and jug I had 
made for the Cardinal. Just at that moment up 
came a Ferrarese gentleman, Messer Alfonso de' 
Trotti by name, a very old man, and full of affectation. 
He took the greatest delight in art ; but he was one 
of those persons who are very difficult to satisfy ; and 
if by chance they ever hit upon something which 
pleases them, it is stamped upon their minds as a 
thing of such excellence, that they think they shall 
never see the like of it again. When Messer Alfonso 
came in, Messer Alberto said to him, " What a pity 
you have come so late, for the jug and basin we are 
sending to the Cardinal in France are already packed 
up." Whereupon Messer Alfonso replied that he 
did not care ; and, calling one of his servants, he sent 
him back to his house for a jug made of white 
Faenza earthenware, most delicately worked. While 
the servant was on his errand, he said to Messer 
Alberto, "I will tell you why I have no desire to 
look at any more vases. Once upon a time I saw 
one made of silver — an antique it was — so beautiful 
and so wonderful, that the human mind could never 
dream of such excellence. And thus I have no wish 
to see other things of the kind, lest they should spoil 
my marvellous picture of that. There was a man of 


rank, an artist of ability, who went to Rome on 
some business, where this antique vase was shown to 
him secretly. Then by means of a great deal of 
money, he bribed the man who had it, and carried it 
away with him back to these parts. But he keeps it 
very fast locked up, so that the Duke may not know ; 
for he fears to lose it in some way." Now while 
Messer Alfonso was telling this long story, he did 
not look at me, though I was standing near, for he did 
not know me. Then, when that blessed clay model 
appeared, he showed it off so pompously, with such 
ridiculous ceremony, and such palaver, that as soon 
as I had set eyes on it, I turned to Messer Alberto 
and said, " What a piece of luck for me to see it 
again ! " Messer Alfonso flew into a rage, and cried 
out insolently, " Who are vou ? You don't know 
what you are talking about." To which I replied, 
" Now listen to me ; and then you'll see which of us 
knows best what he is saying." So I turned to 
Messer Alberto, a very grave and intelligent person, 
and said, " This is copied from a silver jug of such 
and such a weight, which I made at such and such a 
time for that quack Jacopo, the Carpi surgeon. He 
came to Rome, and stayed there six months, daubing 
with his unguents scores and scores of lords and un- 
lucky gentlemen, whom he fleeced of many thousand 
ducats. At that time I made this vase for him, and 
another different one ; and he paid me wretchedly for 
my pains. And now all those poor wretches in 
Rome, whom he daubed, are crippled to-day, and in 
very bad case. It is the greatest honour for me that 
my works have such fame with you rich gentlemen. 
But I assure you that in these past years I have made 
every possible effort to learn more of my art ; so that 
I think the vase I am carrying to France is a deal 
more worthy of the Cardinal and the King than the one 
belonging to your quack." Hardly were these words 
of mine out, when it was plain that Messer Alfonso 


was really choking with the desire of seeing the basin 
and the jug ; but I persistently refused. When we 
had argued the matter for a bit, he said he would go 
to the Duke, and make him force me to show it. 
Then Messer Alberto Bendedio, who, as I have told 
you, was of a very haughty temper, said, " Before 
you leave here, Messer Alfonso, you shall see it, 
without the intervention of his Excellency." At 
these words I set oiF, leaving Ascanio and Pagolo to 
show my work to them. Pagolo told me afterwards 
that they said the finest things in my praise. And 
Messer Alfonso wished to make my nearer acquaint- 
ance ; but it seemed to me a thousand years till I 
should get out of Ferrara, and out of the sight of 
them all. Whatever benefits I had enjoyed there 
had come from my intercourse with the Cardinal 
Salviati, and the Cardinal of Ravenna, and some able 
musicians. Nobody else did anything for me ; for 
the Ferrarese are a very avaricious folk, and like to 
get as much out of other people as they can ; and 
they are all the same. 

At two hours before sundown Fiaschino appeared, 
bringing me the sixty-crown diamond. It was with 
a glum face and few words that he begged me to 
wear it for his Excellency's sake. I answered him 
that I would do so. Then as he stood there, I put 
my foot in the stirrup, and set off on my journey 
without any one's leave. He took good note of my 
manner and my words, and reported them to the 
Duke, who in his wrath would have dearly loved to 
make me turn back again. 

ix. That evening I went more than ten miles, 
always at a trot ; and when next day I was out of 
Ferrarese territory I felt greatly pleased ; for those 
peacocks which I had eaten, and which had given 
me back my health, were the only good things I had 
known there. We took the Mont Cenis road, 
avoiding the city of Milan because of the misgiving 


I have mentioned, so that we reached Lyons safe and 
sound. With Pagolo and Ascanio and a servant w^e 
were a company of four, and we were all well mounted. 
At Lyons we stopped for several days, waiting for the 
muleteer who carried the silver basin and jug, as well 
as our other baggage. We had our quarters in an 
abbey belonging to the Cardinal. But as soon as our 
muleteer came up with us, we put all our things in 
a little waggon, and sent them off on the road to 
Paris. We, too, set our faces in the same direction. 
On the way we had a little trouble, but nothing ot 

We found the King's court at Fontainebleau j and 
there we sought out the Cardinal, who at once con- 
signed us lodgings ; and that night we were comfort- 
ably installed. Next day the little waggon turned 
up. We took possession of our things, and let the 
Cardinal know of their arrival. He told the King, 
who sent for me at once. So I went to his Majesty 
with the basin and jug ; and when I had come into 
his presence I kissed his knee, and he gave me 
the most gracious reception. I thanked him for 
having brought me out of prison, saying that it was 
binding on every good prince, and especially on the 
one great prince of the world, to wit, his Majesty, 
to liberate men who were good for anything, 
especially when they were innocent, as I was ; and 
that such deeds were written in the books of God 
before any others whatsoever. The good King 
stayed to listen till I had finished speaking, with the 
utmost courtesy, putting in a word or two now and 
then, such as could have only come from him. When 
I had ended, he took the vase and the basin and said, 
" Verily I believe even the ancients never saw such a 
beautiful piece of work. For I well remember to 
have examined the masterpieces of the best artists in 
all Italy ; but never did I meet with anything that so 
roused my admiration as this." These words the 


King spoke in French to the Cardinal of Ferrara, 
and others too still more laudatory. Then he turned 
to me, and speaking in Italian, he said, " Benvenuto, 
amuse yourself for a day or two ; comfort your heart, 
and make good cheer. In the meanwhile we shall 
be planning for you to do some fine work for us." 

X. The Cardinal of Ferrara perceived that the 
King was highly pleased at my coming. He saw, 
too, that the few specimens I had shown him had 
bred in him the desire of having some important 
works, which he had in his mind, carried out by me. 
But just then we were following in the train of the 
court, to our great discomfort, be it said. For the 
royal train always plods along with twelve thousand 
cavalry behind it, never less — indeed, in times of 
peace the complete retinue amounts to eighteen 
thousand. Well, we dragged along after it ; and 
sometimes we would come to places where there were 
hardly two houses. Then we pitched canvas tents 
like gipsies ; and many a time we were far from com- 
fortable. So I went on begging the Cardinal to 
remind the King to send for me and set me to work. 
The Cardinal said the best thing was to wait til] 
his Majesty thought of it himself; but that I might 
show myself occasionally to the King while he sat at 
table. This I did, and one morning he called for me 
while he was dining. He began to speak to me in 
Italian, and said he had it on his mind to have several 
works executed on a large scale ; and that very soon 
he would arrange workshops for me, and provide me 
with all I should want. And he talked very pleasantly 
on other matters besides. The Cardinal of Ferrara 
was present ; for he nearly always ate his morning 
meal at the King's table. Thus he had heard all the 
conversation ; and when the King rose, he said to him 
in my behalf — so it was reported to me — "Sacred 
Majesty, Benvenuto here is most anxious to work. 
Indeed, it may be almost called a sin to waste the 


time of an artist like him." Whereupon his Majesty 
said he had spoken well, and that he was to arrange 
with me all things I needed for my maintenance. 
That same evening his lordship sent for me after 
supper, and gave me a message from the King, 
namely, that his Majesty was quite determined to 
set me to work, but that first he wished me to be 
clear in my mind about my salary. Concerning this 
the Cardinal said, "It seems to me that if his Majesty 
gives you three hundred crowns a year, you will do 
well. Also, I would have you leave everything to 
me ; for not a day passes but I have an opportunity of 
being of some service in this great kingdom ; and I 
shall always help you to the very best of my ability." 
Then I answered, "When your most reverend lord- 
ship left me behind in Ferrara, without any request 
from me, you promised never to take me out of Italy 
till I should know exactly on what terms I was to 
serve his Majesty. Instead of sending to tell me 
this, you ordered me to come by the post — as if my 
art could be carried on under these circumstances. 
If you had told me of a provision of three hundred 
crowns, as you do now, I should not have stirred a 
foot — no, not for double that sum. But yet for all 
which God and your lordship have done for me I am 
grateful ; for God used you as the means of rendering 
me a great service in liberating me from prison. 
Therefore, I assure your lordship, whatever ill turn 
you may do me now, is made up for a thousandfold 
by the great good I have received from you. With 
all my heart I thank you, and take my good leave ; 
and wherever I may be, while I live I shall pray God 
for you." Then the Cardinal got in a rage, and said 
in his wrath, " Go where you like. One can't do 
good to a man against his will." And some of his 
worthless courtiers who were hanging round, said, 
" He thinks a deal of himself, refusing a salary of 
three hundred ducats like that ! " But among them 



were men of understanding in art, one of whom said, 
"The King will never find his equal ; and our Cardinal 
wants to bargain as if Benvenuto were a load of 
wood." It was Messer Luigi Alamanni who said 
this — so I was told. It took place in Dauphine, 
in a castle the name of which I do not recall. The 
day was the last of October. 

xi. Leaving them, I went back to my lodgings, 
three miles off; and with me was a Secretary of 
the Cardinal, who was returning to the same place. 
All the way he kept on asking me what I was going 
to do with myself, and what my own idea would 
have been regarding a salary. I answered only one 
word — I knew all. In our quarters I found Pagolo 
and Ascanio, who, seeing me troubled in my mind, 
forced me to tell them what was the matter with 
me. So, as the poor fellows were anxious, I said to 
them, " To-morrow morning I shall give you money 
which will amply provide for your journey home ; 
and I am going by myself on very important 
business, which for long I have had on my mind." 
Now there was only a wall between our room and 
the Secretary's, and it is quite possible that he wrote 
to the Cardinal what I intended to do, though I 
never knew rightly whether he did so or not. 

The night was a sleepless one ; it seemed an age 
till day broke, and I could follow up the resolution I 
had made. At dawn I ordered my two horses, 
hastily made my preparations, and gave my two 
young men all I had brought with me, and fifty 
gold ducats besides. I kept as much for myself, as 
well as the diamond which the Duke had given me. 
Only two shirts did I take, and a rather shabby 
riding-suit which I had on me. But I could hardly 
get away from the two lads, who wished to come 
with me at all hazards ; so that in the end I was 
forced to cry shame on them, and say, " One of you 
has his first beard, and the other's is growing hair by 


hair. And you have learnt from me as much of my 
poor art as I could teach you, so that to-day you are 
the first young craftsmen in Italy. Aren't you 
ashamed to lack the spirit to get out of leading- 
strings ? Shame upon you ! Now, if I were to let 
you go without any money, what would you say ? 
So be off. God*s blessing on you a thousand times ! 
Adieu ! " 

I turned about my horse, and left them weeping. 
Then I took a very beautiful road through a wood, 
my purpose being to travel about forty miles at 
least that day, and get to as remote a place as I 
could find. By the time I had gone about two 
miles I resolved never to be seen again in any place 
where I was known, nor ever again to work on any- 
thing else, after I had finished a Christ, three cubits 
high, reflecting, as far as I could make it, that 
infinite beauty which had been revealed to me by 
Himself. Then having firmly made up my mind, 
I turned my steps towards the Blessed Sepulchre. 
I had thought myself in so remote a place that no 
one could find me ; but just then I heard the tread 
of horses behind. This made me mistrustful ; for 
in those parts there is a band of brigands called 
Adventurers, who are given to murdering on the 
high road ; and though every day many of them are 
hanged for it, it seems as if they were quite reckless. 
When the riders came nearer, I recognised them for 
a King's messenger and my lad Ascanio. The 
messenger rode up to me and said, " In the King's 
name, I order you to come to him without delay." 
" You are sent by the Cardinal," I replied ; " there- 
fore I will not return." Then he said that, since 
I would not come willingly, he had authority to 
command the people of the country to bring me 
bound as a prisoner. Ascanio, too, begged me 
earnestly to give in, reminding me that when the 
King took a man prisoner, he kept him five years 


at least before he made up his mirid to release him. 
The mention of prison recalled what I had suffered 
in Rome ; and struck such terror into me, that I 
turned my horse without another word in the 
direction indicated by the King's messenger, who 
chattered away all the time in French, till he had 
brought me back to the Court — now threatening 
me, now saying one thing, now another, till it was 
enough to make me forswear the world. 

xii. When we were on our way to the royal 
quarters, we passed in front of those of the Cardinal 
of Ferrara, who was standing at his door. Calling 
to me, he said, " Our most Christian King, of his 
own free will, has made the same provision for you 
that he made for the painter, Lionardo da Vinci, 
that is, seven hundred crowns a year. Besides that, 
he will pay you for all the work you will do for 
him. Then, also, for your expenses in coming here, 
he gives you five hundred gold crowns, which he 
orders shall be paid now before you leave." When 
he had made an end of speaking, I answered that 
such sums as he had mentioned became the great 
King of France. Then the messenger, who had 
not known who I was, and now heard these fine 
offers made to me on the part of his royal master, 
asked my pardon many times ; while Pagolo and 
Ascanio cried, " By God's help, we are back again 
in leading-strings, of which we think no shame." 

Then next day I went to thank the King, who 
ordered me to make models for twelve silver statues, 
which were to serve for twelve candlesticks round 
his table. He said they were to represent six gods 
and six goddesses, of the same height as his Majesty, 
which was something less than four cubits. When 
he had given me this commission, he turned to the 
treasurer, and asked him if he had paid me the five 
hundred crowns. He said he had heard nothing of 
the matter ; at which the King was much annoyed, 


since he had told the Cardinal to hand on the order. 
Afterwards, he said I was to go to Paris, and find 
a suitable place for carrying on my work ; and he 
would contrive I should have it. 

I took the five hundred gold crowns and went off 
to Paris, putting up in an apartment belonging to the 
Cardinal of Ferrara. There, in God's name, I set to 
work, and made four little wax models, two-thirds 
of a cubit high — ^Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, and Vulcan. 
While I was doing this, the King came back to Paris ; 
so I went ofF at once to seek him, taking the models 
with me, and my two young men, Ascanio and 
Pagolo. As soon as I saw that his Majesty was 
satisfied with the models, and had received orders 
to make the first — that is, the Jupiter — of the agreed 
height, I presented my two lads to him, telling him 
that I had brought them from Italy for his service ; 
for since I had taught them myself, I could get 
much more help from them at the beginning than 
from any craftsmen belonging to the city of Paris. 
To this the King replied that I should fix a salary 
for them, sufficient for their maintenance. I said 
that one hundred gold crowns for each would be a 
handsome provision, and that I should make them 
earn their money well. So it was agreed. Then I 
said that I had found a place which seemed to me 
just what I wanted for my work ; that it was his 
Majesty's private property, and was called the Petit 
Nesle. The provost of Paris held it free at present, 
the King having lent it him. But since the provost 
was not using it, his Majesty might give it to me to 
use for his service. He answered at once, "The 
place is my own house ; and I know quite well that 
he to whom I gave it does not live in it, nor use it 
in any way. Therefore, you can take it for your 
business." And on the spot he ordered his lieutenant 
to put me in possession of the Nesle. The man 
demurred ; indeed, he told the King he could not 


do it. His Majesty answered hotly that he would 
give his own things to whomsoever he pleased, and 
to a man who was of use to him, since from the 
other he got no service at all. And so there were 
to be no more words about the matter. Then the 
lieutenant went on to say that it might be necessary 
to use a little force ; and the King replied, " Well, 
go ; and if a Httle force be not enough, use a great 

Then I was conducted at once to the place. The 
lieutenant had to take strong measures to put me in 
possession ; and he told me to look out carefully lest 
I should be murdered. I made my entrance at once ; 
hired servants, and bought several great pikes and 
weapons of that sort. But for several days I stayed 
there in the greatest discomfort ; for the former 
tenant was a great nobleman of Paris, and the other 
gentlemen, his friends, were all hostile to me, and 
heaped insupportable insults on me. I must not 
neglect to say that at the time I entered his Majesty's 
service, in the year 1540, I was exactly forty years 

xiii. These bitter insults forced me to apply to the 
King, begging him to instal me elsewhere. But he 
cried out, " Who are you, and what is your name ? " 
I was thunderstruck, not knowing what he meant ; 
and stood there dumb, while the King once more, 
and angrily, repeated the same words. I replied that 
I was called Benvenuto. "Then, if you are the Ben- 
venuto I have heard of, do as you are wont to do. 
I give you full leave." I told his Majesty that all I 
wanted was to keep in his favour ; for having that, 
I knew nothing that could hurt me. He then 
laughed somewhat grimly, and said, " Go, then j 
and my favour shall never fail you." Thereupon he 
ordered his chief secretary, Monseigneur de Villeroy, 
to see I was provided with everything I might want. 
Now this Villeroy was a very great friend of him 


who was called the provost, to whom the Nesle had 
been given. The castle was in the form of a triangle, 
and was built up against the walls of the city. It 
was an ancient stronghold of a goodly size, but there 
was no guard attached to it. This Monseigneur 
de Villeroy advised me to seek some other place, and 
to quit this without fail ; for the provost was a man 
of the greatest influence, and he would have me 
killed for a certainty. I answered that I had come 
from Italy to France only to serve the great King ; 
and as for dying, I knew quite well I had to die one 
day, and that a little earlier or later would make no 
difference in the world to me. Villeroy, I should 
say, was a man of keen wit, of exceptional distinc- 
tion, and immensely rich. There was nothing in 
the world he would not have done to harm me ; but 
he made no show of this. He was a grave person, 
very handsome, and spoke with much deliberation. 
He gave the task of annoying me to another gentle- 
man, called Monseigneur de Marmagne, who was 
treasurer of Languedoc. The first thing this fellow 
did was to seek out the best rooms in the place, and 
to have them prepared for himself. Whereupon I 
said the castle had been given me by the King, 
because I was in his service ; and that I would have 
no one Hve there save myself and my servants. He 
was an arrogant, audacious man, of a very hot temper, 
and he told me he would do just what he pleased ; 
that I was knocking my head against a wall if I 
thought of fighting with him ; and that everything 
he did was done by order of Villeroy. Then I said 
that my authority came from the King, and that 
neither he nor Villeroy could do anything of the 
kind. Whereupon he poured out a shower of abuse 
in his French tongue ; and I gave him the lie in my 
own. Roused to a pitch of anger, he made as if to 
seize his little poniard. So I put my hand on the 
big dagger which I always carried for my defence, 


and cried, " If you dare to draw that weapon, you're 
a dead man ! " He had two servants with him, and 
I had my two apprentices. He stopped a moment, 
in two minds as to the better course ; but the wish 
to do me a mischief was uppermost, and he muttered, 
" I will never endure such a thing." I saw the affair 
was going badly ; so I took a sudden resolve, and 
called to Pagolo and Ascanio, "When you see me 
draw my dagger, throw yourselves on the two menials, 
and kill them if you can ; for Til run this fellow 
through at one blow. Then we'll make off at once 
together." Marmagne, hearing my plan, thought 
he would come off well, if he got out of the place 
ahve. All these adventures — albeit a little more 
modestly — I wrote to the Cardinal of Ferrara, who 
informed his Majesty at once. The King, in a great 
rage, gave me in charge to another of his guard, called 
Monseigneur le Vicomte d'Orbec, who looked after 
all my wants with every courtesy imaginable. 

xiv. As soon as I had put my house and shop in 
order, and fitted them up with everything I needed 
for my work, and for the honourable maintenance of 
my personal establishment, I set at once to making 
three models of the same size as the finished works 
in silver were to be. These were the Jupiter, 
Vulcan, and Mars. I made them of clay well sup- 
ported with iron. Then I went ofF to the King, 
who let me have, if I remember rightly, three 
hundred pounds of silver, so that I might begin 
my work. While I was preparing these things, I 
finished the little vase and the oval basin, which had 
taken us several months. I had them beautifully 
gilt ; and there was not another piece of plate in 
France which could be compared to them. I took 
them at once to the Cardinal of Ferrara, who thanked 
me heartily, and then went by himself to the King, 
and made him a present of them. His Majesty was 
enchanted, and heaped more praises on me than ever 


fell to a man of my condition. In return for the 
gift he presented the Cardinal with an abbey worth 
seven thousand crowns a year ; and he wanted to 
make me a present too. But the Cardinal put a 
stop to that, saying that his Majesty was too hasty, 
since I had as yet done nothing for him. The 
King, however, who was most liberal, replied, " But 
I want to encourage him to serve me " ; whereupon 
the Cardinal, ashamed of himself, rejoined, " Sire, I 
beg you will leave the thing to me. I will allow 
him a pension of at least three hundred crowns as 
soon as I have taken possession of my abbey." I 
never had a farthing from him ; but it would be too 
long were I to tell all the rascality of this Cardinal. 
I will reserve myself for things of greater importance. 
XV. I went back to Paris ; and the King's marked 
favour of me gained me the admiration of every one. 
When I got the silver, I began the statue of Jupiter, 
hired a great many workmen, and pushed the thing 
forward, never resting day or night from my work ; 
so that when Jupiter, Vulcan, and Mars were finished 
in clay, and the silver Jupiter was making speedy pro- 
gress, the workshop made a goodly show. Just then 
the King came to Paris. I went to see him ; and 
as soon as he set eyes on me, he called mc in a 
cheerful voice, and asked me if I had anything 
beautiful to show him ; for if so, he would come to 
my house and see it. Accordingly I told him all I 
had been doing ; and he was at once taken with the 
strongest desire to come. So after dinner he set out 
with Madame d'Etampes, the Cardinal of Lorraine, 
and some other of his lords. Among the company 
were the King of Navarre, his cousin, and the 
Queen of Navarre, his sister, as well as the Dauphin 
and Dauphiness ; so that all the nobility of the 
French court came to see me that day. In the 
meantime I had gone back home, and had set to 
work again. When the King appeared at the door 


of my castle, and heard the noise of our hammers, 
he ordered all his suite to be quiet. Every man in 
the shop was hard at work, so that his Majesty took 
me completely by surprise. When he entered my 
great hall, the first thing he saw was me with a 
large silver plate in my hand, which I was hammer- 
ing for the body of Jupiter. Another man was 
making the head, and another the legs ; so that the 
noise was tremendous. Now there was a little 
French boy working near me, who had been annoy- 
ing me in some trifling way. I gave him a kick, and, 
as ill luck would have it, my foot caught him in the 
fork of the legs, and sent him reeling more than four 
cubits away ; so that just as the King came in, the 
child fell up against him. His Majesty laughed 
heartily ; but I was all in confusion. Then he began 
to ask me what I was doing, and would have me go 
on working. But he told me I should please him 
best by not wasting my strength on manual labour. 
I was to employ all the men I wanted, and make 
them do the main part of the work. He wished me 
to keep in good health, he said, so that I might 
remain in his service all the longer. I replied I 
should fall ill at once if I did not work ; nor would 
the work, under these circumstances, be of that 
quality which I should desire for his Majesty. The 
King thought I said this from mere boastfulness, and 
not because I really thought so ; and he made the 
Cardinal of Lorraine repeat what he had said. Then 
I explained my reasons so fully and frankly that the 
Cardinal was quite convinced, and advised the King 
to let me work little or much, just as I liked. 

xvi. The King, well satisfied with what I was 
doing, went back to the palace, after taking leave of 
me with more compliments than I have time to write 
down. Next day, while he was at dinner, he sent for 
me. The Cardinal of Ferrara was dining with him ;, 
and when I got there, the King was at the second 


course. At once he began to speak to me, saying, 
that since he had such a beautiful basin and jug from 
my hand, he wished for a fine salt-cellar to keep 
them company. So he asked me to make him a 
design for one, and without delay. I answered, 
" Your Majesty will see such a design much sooner 
than you expect ; for while I was making the basin, 
I thought a salt-cellar should be made to go with it ; 
so the thing is ready, and, if it please you, I can 
show it to you now." Then he turned with the 
greatest animation to his lords who were present — 
the King of Navarre, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and 
the Cardinal of Ferrara, and said, "Verily, this is a 
man to make himself loved and desired by every one 
who knows him ! " Then to me he said he would, 
indeed, like to see my model. Off I went, and 
speedily returned ; for I had but to cross the Seine. 
I brought back with me a wax model, which I had 
already made at the request of the Cardinal of Ferrara 
in Rome. When I uncovered it, his Majesty ex- 
claimed in his astonishment, "This is a hundred 
times more divine than I could ever have imagined. 
The man is a wonder ! He should never lay down 
his tools." Then turning to me with a most joyful 
face, he said that the model pleased him very much, 
and that he would like me to carry it out in gold. 
The Cardinal of Ferrara, who was present, gave me 
a look as if to say he recognised the design as the 
one I had made for him in Rome. So I reminded 
him of what I had said before — that I should make 
it for him who was destined to possess it. The 
Cardinal recalled the words ; and annoyed at the 
thought that I was having my revenge, said, "Sire, 
this is a very great undertaking. I doubt I shall 
never see it completed ; for these clever men who 
have such fine ideas, are all agog to begin things, 
without considering duly when they may be finished. 
Therefore, if I were to order such elaborate 


works, I should like to know when I was to have 
them." To this the King replied, that he who 
worried so anxiously about the end of a piece of 
work, would never begin anything. And it was 
plain from his tone that he meant to say, such things 
were not for poor-spirited creatures. Then I spoke : 
" Princes who put heart into their servants, as your 
Majesty does by act and word, make the greatest 
enterprises easy ; and since God has given me so 
admirable a master, I am in hopes of bringing many 
great and noble works to completion for him." " So 
I think, too," said the King as he rose from table. 
Then he called me into his own room, and asked me 
how much gold I should want for the salt-cellar. "A 
thousand crowns," I answered ; whereupon he ordered 
his treasurer, Monseigneur le Vicomte d'Orbec, to 
give me without delay a thousand old gold crowns 
of good weight. 

When I left his Majesty, I sent for the two 
notaries, through whom I had got the silver for the 
Jupiter, as well as many other things. Then I 
crossed the Seine and fetched a little basket, which 
one of my cousins, a nun, had given me when I 
passed through Florence. (And it was a piece of 
great good luck that I took this basket instead of a 
bag.) I thought I could expedite the business by 
day — it was still early — and I did not wish to disturb 
my men at their work, nor even to take a servant 
with me. When I reached the treasurer's house, I 
found he had the money lying before him ; and he 
was selecting it as the King had told him. Never- 
theless, it seemed to me that the rascal used every 
kind of artful delay about the counting of the money ; 
for it was not ready till three hours after sunset. 
But I was not wanting in prudence ; and so I sent 
for several of my workmen to come and bear me 
company, saying the matter was of much importance. 
When I saw they did not come, I asked the 


messenger if he had done my errand. The villain 
said he had, and that they had told him they could 
not come. But he would carry the money for me 
willingly, he said. I replied that I should carry it 
myselfl Meanwhile the contract was signed. When 
the money had been counted, I put it all in my little 
basket ; then pushed my arm through the two handles, 
and as this was no easy matter, the basket was shut 
tight, and I carried the gold more safely than I 
should have done in a bag. I was well armed with 
coat and sleeves of mail ; and with my sword and 
dagger at my side, I set off as hard as I could. 

xvii. Just then I saw some servants whispering 
together and making off from the house at a good 
pace in the opposite direction from me. I walked 
briskly, crossed the Pont du Change, and went along 
a little wall by the river, which led to my apartment 
in the Nesle, till I came to the Augustinians. Now 
this is a most perilous place ; and though it was only 
five hundred steps from my house, yet as the in- 
habited part of the castle was almost as far within, 
my voice would never have been heard if I had called 
out. Well, just there I was attacked. My mind 
was made up in a flash when I saw four armed men 
upon me. Quickly I covered my basket with my 
cloak, drew my sword, and seeing they were hotly 
closing round me, I cried, "You can get nothing 
from soldiers but their cloak and sword, and before I 
give you mine, I hope you will not be much the 
better for them." While I was answering their 
attack with spirit, I opened my arms wide several 
times, so that, should they be in league with the 
servants who had seen me take the money, they 
might come to the conclusion that I had no such 
sum upon me. The fight was soon over, and little 
by little they retired, saying in their own tongue, 
"This is a brave Italian, and certainly not the 
fellow we were in search of. Or if it be indeed the 


same, he has nothing on him." I spoke in Italian ; 
and all the time I was thrusting and digging at them, 
so that they barely escaped with their lives. In- 
deed, I wielded my arms with such skill that they 
took me for a soldier rather than a civilian j and 
keeping close together, little by little they drew 
farther and farther back from me, muttering all the 
time in their lingo j while I kept saying, but without 
bluster, that whoever would like my sword and my 
cloak would have some trouble to get them. Then 
I began to hasten my steps, while they crept on 
slowly behind me ; which roused a greater anxiety in 
me lest I should fall into another ambuscade of like 
rascals, and be caught between the two bands. So 
when I was about a hundred steps from my house I 
began to run as hard as I was able, crying in a loud 
voice, " To arms ! to arms ! come out ! come out ! 
for they are killing me." In an instant four of my 
young fellows ran to me, each armed with a pike. 
They would have chased the villains, who were still 
to be seen ; but I stopped them, shouting at the top 
of my voice, " Those cowards were four against one, 
and yet couldn't get hold of the thousand gold 
crowns, which have all but broken my arm. Now 
let's go and put them in a safe place ; and then I'll 
take my two-handed sword and come with you 
wherever you like." So we went and deposited the 
gold ; and my young men, while condoling with me 
on the great peril I had run, yet said reproachfully, 
" You trust too much to yourself ; a day will come 
when you'll give us all cause to weep." We had a 
long talk over the matter. Meanwhile my enemies 
had fled ; and we all sat down to supper happy and 
gay, and laughing over those sudden strokes of 
fortune, which work for good as well as ill, and 
which, when they miss their mark, are as if they had 
never been. True, one says to one's self, " You will 
learn better against the next time." But it is not so 



at all ; they come each time in some difFerent form, 
which we had never imagined. 

xviii. Next morning I set to work on the fine salt- 
cellar, and threw the greatest energy into this and 
my other works. Already I had hired a great many 
workmen, both sculptors and goldsmiths, Italians, 
French, and Germans, according as I found them 
useful; for I changed them from day to day, keeping 
only such as were most capable. Those I drove 
without mercy. They saw me work, and fein 
would have done as much ; but I was robuster, 
and they could not stand the excessive labour. In 
hopes of rivalling me, they thought to restore their 
strength with deep drinking and much food, especially 
the Germans, who were more skilled and more 
zealous than the rest. But their constitution could 
not endure such abuse, and it killed them. 

While I was getting on with the Jupiter, I saw 
that I had a good deal of silver to spare. So, without 
telling the King, I began to make a large two- 
handled vase about a cubit and a half high. Besides, 
I took it into my head to cast the large model of the 
Jupiter in bronze, and set out without delay on this 
new enterprise. As I had never done such a thing 
before, I consulted certain old masters of the art in 
Paris, and told them all about our Italian methods. 
They said they had never worked in that fashion ; 
but if I would leave them to do it in their own 
way, they would cast the bronze as clean and as 
good as the clay. So I struck a bargain, whereby 
I put the burden of the work upon them, but 
promised them several crowns over and above what 
they had asked me. Accordingly they began the 
thing ; but as I saw they were not doing it after a 
right method, I set to work at once on a head of 
Julius Caesar, with bust and armour, more than 
life size, v/hich I made after a small copy of a 
marvellous antique I had brought from Rome. Also 
L 309 


I took in hand another head of the same size, the 
model for which was a very beautiful girl whom I 
kept in my house. To this I gave the name of Fon- 
tainebleau, from the place the King had chosen for 
his own delight. 

A convenient little furnace had been made for 
founding the bronze ; and our moulds were got 
ready and baked, the French bronze - casters seeing 
to the Jupiter, and I to my two heads. Then I said 
to them, "I don't think your Jupiter will be a 
success ; for you have not allowed enough air-holes 
below for the air to circulate. So you are losing 
your time." They answered that if their work did 
not turn out well, they would return me all the 
money I had given them on account, and would 
make up to me for all I had spent ; but I had better 
have a care, they said, for my fine heads, which I 
was going to cast in the Italian fashion, would be a 
failure. During this dispute there were present the 
treasurers and other courtiers who used to come and 
visit me by order of the King. And all that was 
said and done they reported to his Majesty. The 
two old men who were to cast the Jupiter wished to 
put the thing off, saying they would like to adjust 
the moulds of my two heads. For, said they, they 
could not possibly come out well in my method, and 
it was a great pity to spoil such fine works. When 
the King heard this, he sent a message to them that 
they had better think about learning instead of trying 
to teach their master. 

So with a great deal of laughing, they put the 
Jupiter into the furnace, while I with an unmoved 
face, showing neither ridicule nor vexation — which I 
nevertheless felt — put in my two moulds, one on 
each side of theirs. And when our metal was well 
founded, with the greatest delight we poured it in. 
It filled up the model of the Jupiter perfectly, and 
at the same time my two heads. So they were 


overjoyed, and I was well-content ; for I was glad to 
have been wrong about their work, and they pre- 
tended to be glad they had been wrong about mine. 
Then, as the French fashion is, in great spirits they 
called for drinks ; and right willingly I gave orders 
that a rich collation should be served. After that 
they asked me for the money which was due to them, 
and the sum over I had promised ; whereupon I 
said, "You have laughed about what I much fear 
may prove a weeping matter. For I have noticed 
that a great deal too much metal has gone into your 
mould ; so I shall give you no more money than you 
have had till to-morrow at least." The poor fellows 
began to think over what I had said to them ; and 
without a word they went off home. When morn- 
ing came, they began very quietly to take the things 
out of the furnace. But they could not uncover 
their large mould until they had taken out my two 
heads. These turned out excellently ; and they stood 
them up where they could be well seen. Then they 
began to uncover the Jupiter. But they had not 
gone down two cubits, when they and their four 
workmen set up such a cry that I heard them. 
Thinking they were shouting for joy, I made haste 
and ran ; for I was in my room more than five hundred 
paces off. When I reached them, they were like 
the guardians of Christ's sepulchre in the picture, 
all sorrowful and afraid. Having glanced at my 
two heads and seen they were all right, I felt 
mingled pleasure and vexation. They pleaded 
excuses, and cried, " How unlucky we are I " 
Whereupon I said, " Your luck has been excellent ; 
but what has been bad is your want of knowledge. 
If 1 had only seen you putting the inner block into 
the mould, with one word I could have let you sec 
how to cast the figure to perfection. It would have 
done me much credit, and would have been very 
helpful to you. I can do without the credit ; but 



you'll gain neither honour nor profit from the 
business. So next time learn how to work, and not 
make fun of other people." Then they pleaded with 
me, owning I was in the right, but saying that if I 
did not help them, with all that great expense and 
loss to make good, they would have to go a-begging 
with their children. I replied that if the King's 
treasurer forced them to pay what they were re- 
sponsible for, I would make it good out of my own 
pocket ; for I saw quite well that they had done their 
work honestly, as far as their knowledge went. My 
conduct in this affair increased the good-will of the 
treasurer and the other ministers of the King to me 
more than I can tell. The whole thing was told to 
his Majesty, who, lavishly generous as was none 
other in the world, gave orders that whatever I 
wished should be done. 

xix. At this time the femous captain, Piero Strozzi, 
came to Paris, and recalled to the King the question 
of his letters of naturalisation. His Majesty gave 
orders they should be made out. At the same time 
he said, " Make out letters also for Benvenuto, mon 
ami^ and take them at once to his house ; and let him 
be at no expense in the matter." Piero Strozzi's 
cost him many hundred ducats. Mine were brought 
to me by one of the chief secretaries, called Monsieur 
Antoine le Ma9on, who handed me the letters with 
the most courteous messages from his Majesty, 
saying, " The King presents you with these, so that 
you may be further encouraged to serve him. They 
are letters of naturalisation." And he told me how, 
only after a long delay, and as a great fevour, they 
had been given to Piero Strozzi in accordance with 
his request. But his Majesty had sent mine of his 
own free will ; and such a favour had never before 
been shown to any one in the whole kingdom. 
Hearing this, I thanked the King effusively ; and 
then I begged the secretary to be good enough to 


tell me what these letters of naturalisation were for. 
He was a most intelligent and well-bred man, and 
spoke excellent Italian. First he began to laugh 
heartily ; then, collecting himself, he explained to me 
in my own Italian tongue what they were, adding 
that they conferred one of the highest dignities 
which can be given to a foreigner. "In truth," 
said he, " it is a greater thing than being made a 
Venetian noble." Then he left me, went back 
to the King, and told all to his Majesty, who 
laughed for a bit, and then said, "Now I would 
have him know why I have sent him letters of 
naturalisation. Go and make out for him a patent 
of lordship of the castle of the Little Nesle, where he 
lives. It is a part of my own patrimony. He will 
understand what that is much more easily than he 
did the other." Then a messenger came to me 
with this gift, and I wished to use him courteously. 
But he would accept nothing, saying such were his 
Majesty's orders. When I returned to Italy I 
brought those letters of naturalisation with me, 
together with the deeds of the castle ; and wherever 
I go, and wherever I end my life, I shall strive to 
keep them by me always. 

XX. Now I shall go on with the tale of my life. 
I had in hand the works I have mentioned, that is, 
the silver Jupiter, the gold salt-cellar, the large silver 
vase, the two bronze heads ; and I was making all 
the haste with them I could. I was also preparing 
to cast the base for the statue, which was of bronze, 
and richly decorated. Among the ornaments were 
bas-reliefs, on one side the rape of Ganymede, and 
on the other Leda and the Swan. I cast it in bronze 
with great success. Then I designed another like it 
for the statue of Juno, hoping to carry that out too, 
if the King gave me silver enough. Thus by dint of 
hard work, I had got well on with the silver Jupiter 
and the gold salt-cellar. The vase was well forward ; 


the two bronze heads were already finished. I had 
also made several trifles for the Cardinal of Ferrara, 
and, besides, a little silver vase, richly chased, to 
present to Madame d'Etampes. Likewise, for 
several Italian nobleman, Piero Strozzi, for instance, 
the Count d'Anguillara, the Count di Pitigliano, the 
Count della Mirandola, and many others, I had done 
a great deal of work. 

As I have said, I had got on excellently with the 
pieces I was making for my great King. About this 
time he returned to Paris ; and on the third day after 
he came to my house, with some of the best nobility 
of his court. He was greatly astonished at the 
amount of work I had accomplished, and at its 
excellence. Now Madame d'Etampes was with him, 
and they began to talk of Fontainebleau. She advised 
his Majesty to order me to design some beautiful 
ornament for his fountain in that place ; whereupon 
the King exclaimed, " A very good idea ! And this 
very instant I will make up my mind what it shall 
be." Then, turning to me, he began to ask me what 
I thought should be done for the fountain. So I set 
before him my ideas, and his Majesty expressed his 
own. Then he told me he was going for fifteen or 
twenty days to St. Germain-en-Laye, twelve leagues 
from Paris ; and during that time I was to make a 
model for his beautiful fountain, the richest and most 
ingenious I could think of; for the place was to his 
mind the pleasantest he had in all his kingdom. It 
was thus he commanded and entreated me to do all I 
could to produce something exquisite j and I gave 
him my promise. 

When the King saw so many works well forward, 
he said to Madame d*Etampes, "I have never em- 
ployed a man of his profession who pleased me more, 
nor who better earned a reward. So we must think 
how best we can keep him in our service. He is 
open-handed, loves good company, and works hard, 


and we must keep his needs in mind. And, — will 
you believe it, Madame ? — for as often as he has come 
to see me, and as I have gone to see him, he has 
never once asked me for anything. His heart is 
evidently all set upon his work. We must think of 
rewarding him without delay, lest we should lose 
him." Sladame d*Etampes replied, " I shall remind 
you." So they took their departure. Now, besides 
all the works I had in hand, I began the model 
of the fountain, working at it with the greatest 

xxi. At the end of a month and a half the King 
returned to Paris ; and I, who had been working 
day and night, went to see him, taking with me the 
model, which was so well blocked out that its design 
could plainly be seen. That diabolic war between 
the Emperor and the King had by this time broken 
out again ; so that I found him in great trouble. 
But I spoke to the Cardinal of Ferarra, telling him I 
had with me certain models which his Majesty had 
ordered, and if he saw a fitting moment for showing 
them, I thought the King would be much pleased 
with them. The Cardinal did as I wished ; and when 
he spoke of the models, his Majesty came at once to 
the place where they were. The first I had made 
for the door of the palace of Fontainebleau. I had 
altered — but as little as possible — the form of the 
door, which was short and stumpy, after their bad 
French style. The opening was nearly square ; and 
above it was a flattened semicircle, like the handle 
of a basket, in which the King wished me to put a 
figure representing the nymph of Fontainebleau. 
I improved the proportions of the doorway, and then 
placed above it a regular semicircle. The sides I 
adorned with elegant projections, under which, and 
above, I placed corresponding socles and cornices. 
But instead of two columns, which this style is 
supposed to demand, I designed two satyrs, one on 



each side. The first, which was almost in high 
relief, was raising one hand to support the column, 
while in the other he held a great club. His coun- 
tenance was haughty and proud, striking fear into the 
beholders. The other figure was in a like attitude ; 
but the head and some minor parts were different. 
For example, in his hand he held a whip with three 
balls at the end of chains. Though I call them 
satyrs, there was nothing of the satyr about them 
save the little horns and their goat's head. The 
rest of them was human in shape. In the middle of 
the semicircle, I had designed a woman lying in a 
beautiful attitude, with her left arm on a stag's neck, 
the stag being one of the emblems of the King. On 
one side were young fawns in half relief, and wild 
boars and other wild animals in lower relief ; on the 
other side, hunting dogs of the various breeds which are 
found in that lovely wood where the fountain springs. 
Then I had enclosed the whole in an oblong ; and in- 
each of the upper angles had placed a Victory in 
low relief, with torches in her hand, as the ancients 
were wont to represent her. Above this oblong was 
the salamander, the King's own device, and many 
other pleasing ornaments befitting the Ionic style of 
the work. 

xxii. Hardly had the King set eyes on the model, 
when his spirits rose, and his mind was diverted 
from the worrying discussions in which he had been 
engaged for more than two hours. Seeing he was 
in the cheerful mood that just suited me, I uncovered 
the second model, which he was not looking for, 
thinking that one was enough for me to have done. 
This other was more than two cubits high. It was 
a fountain in the form of a perfect square, with very 
fine steps round it, which intersected each other in a 
way never seen in those parts, and not at all common 
with us. In the middle of the fountain was a 
pedestal, which rose a little beyond the basin ; and 



on this I had set a nude figure of harmonious size 
and graceful shape. With his right hand he held a 
broken lance on high, and his left rested on the handle 
of a beautiful scimitar. He stood on his left foot, with 
his right on a richly chased helmet. At each of the 
four corners of the fountain I had placed a seated 
figure, raised above the pedestal, with many fanciful 
emblems about each. 

Then his Majesty began to ask me what I meant 
by all those delightful conceits. My plan for the 
door he had understood without asking me ; but for 
this fountain, though it seemed to him very beautiful, 
he couldn't make it out at all. Yet he knew I was 
not one of those fools, who are capable of producing 
something rather graceful, but entirely without 
significance. Here I set my thoughts in order ; for 
since he was pleased with my work, I wished him to 
be no less so with my exposition. "I would have your 
Sacred Majesty know," said I, " that this whole work 
is so exactly calculated, to an inch, that when it is 
executed on a large scale, it will retain the same 
grace you see now. This figure in the middle would 
be fifty-four feet high." (Here the King appeared to 
be greatly astonished.) " It is meant to represent the 
god Mars. These other four figures are the arts and 
intellectual pursuits, which your Majesty so much 
delights to encourage. The one on the right hand is 
Science. As you will see, opposite it is Philosophy, 
with all that pertains to it. This other represents 
the complete art of design — that is. Sculpture, 
Painting, and Architecture. The next is Music, 
fitting companion for all the rest. And this one, 
with so gracious and benign a face, is Liberality, 
without which none of the endowments which God 
bestows on us can ever have a chance of expression. 
The great statue in the middle is meant for your 
Majesty's self, who is a very Mars j for you are the 
sole brave in all the world ; and your bravery you 
L* 317 


manifest in justice and well-doing, in defence of your 
glory." Hardly had he the patience to hear me to 
the end, before he burst out in a loud voice, " Verily 
I have found a man after my own heart ! " and he 
called his treasurers, with whom I had already had 
dealings, and told them to provide me with everything 
I might want, at no matter what cost. Then, putting 
his hand on my shoulder, he said to me, ^^ Mon amV* 
— which means "my friend" — "I do not know whose 
is the greater pleasure, that of the prince who has 
found a man after his own heart, or that of the artist 
who has found a prince who allows him whatever he 
needs to carry out his best ideas." I answered that if 
it was I his Majesty referred to, mine was much the 
greater luck. He replied with a laugh, "Let's say 
our luck is equal." Then I took my leave ; and in 
the highest spirits went back to my work. 

xxiii. As my ill fortune would have it, nobody 
suggested to me I had best play just such another 
comedy with Madame d'Etampes. When she heard 
that evening, from the King's own mouth, all that 
had been going on, a venomous rage was roused in 
her bosom, and she burst out angrily, "If Benvenuto 
had taken the trouble to show me his fine works, he 
would have given me reason for remembering him at 
the right moment." The King made excuses for 
me ; but in vain. I heard of the occurrence only 
after they had gone on a journey through Normandy, 
stopping at Rouen and Dieppe. However, fifteen 
days after, when they had returned to Saint Germain- 
en-Laye, I repaired to that place, taking with me the 
lovely little vase I had made at the request of Madame 
d'Etampes. I meant to give it to her, hoping thus 
to regain her favour. So I presented myself at her 
house, and showed her nurse what I had brought for 
her mistress. The nurse received me most kindly ; 
and promised she would say a word to Madame, who 
was not yet dressed ; and that as soon as she had 



announced me, she would usher me in. The woman 
gave all my messages to Madame, who answered 
contemptuously, "Tell him to wait." Hearing this, A 
I clothed myself with patience, than which nothing I 
is harder to me. However, I kept calm till after i 
her dinner-time. Then, seeing it was getting late, \ 
hunger roused such a fury in me that, unable any 
longer to bear it, I consigned her devoutly to the \ 
devil, and took myself off to find the Cardinal of J 
Lorraine. I made him a present of the vase, only 
asking in return that he would keep me in the King's 
favour. He said there was no need for his mediation ; 
but that should it arise, he would willingly say a 
word for me. Then he called his treasurer and 
whispered in his ear. The treasurer waited till I had 
left the presence of the Cardinal, and then he said, 
" Benvenuto, come with me and I'll give you a 
beaker of good wine to drink." Thereupon I 
answered — not rightly understanding what he meant 
— " For any sake, my lord treasurer, let me have just 
one beaker of wine and a mouthful of bread. Truly 
I am in want of it ; for from an early hour this 
morning till now I have been fasting on Madame 
d'Etampes' doorstep. I went merely to give her 
that fine vase of silver gilt ; and told her as much. 
But, only to spite me, she sent word I was to wait. 
Now hunger has gripped me, and I am ready to faint. 
But as God has willed, I have given the labour of my 
hands to one who deserves it more ; and all I ask 
is something to drink ; for I am somewhat of a bilious 
disposition, and fasting puts me so out of sorts that 
I am in danger of falling now from sheer weakness." 
While I was struggling to get out these words, there 
appeared a collation of exquisite wine and other 
dainties, so that I was perfectly restored ; and having 
got back my vital forces, I discovered that my rage 
had all passed away. The good treasurer handed to 
me a hundred gold crowns ; but I refused obstinately 



to have anything to do with them. When he went 
to report this, the Cardinal called him names, and 
ordered him to force me to take them, and not to 
come into his presence till he had done so. So the 
treasurer came back to me in great trouble, saying 
that never before had he been so abused by the 
Cardinal. He still persisted in offering me the 
money ; and I was still obstinate, till he got in a rage, 
and said he would force me to accept. So at last I 
took the money. When I proposed to go and thank 
his lordship, he sent a message by a secretary that 
whenever he could do me a good turn, he would do 
so wilHngly. I returned to Paris the same evening. 
The King had learned everything ; and they teased 
Madame d'Etampes about the affair, which only 
embittered her the more, whereby I was placed in 
great peril of my life. But I shall speak of that in 
its own place. 

xxiv. Long before this I should have told of my 
friendship with one of the ablest, the most affection- 
ate and friendliest men I have ever known in all my 
life. This was Messer Guido Guidi, an excellent 
physician and doctor, and a Florentine noble. But 
in telling of the endless troubles with which my 
adverse fortune assailed me, I have neglected to 
speak of him earlier. The omission mattered little, 
I thought, since I kept him ever near my heart. 
But now I see that the story of my life is incomplete 
without him ; and so I shall bring him forward here, 
in the midst of my greatest trials ; so that as he was 
then my strength and aid, now I can recall the good 
he did to me. At the beginning of our acquaint- 
ance, when he came to Paris, I took him to my 
castle, and there gave him a suite of apartments for 
his own use j and we were the best of neighbours for 
several years. Now there arrived also the Bishop of 
Pavia, Monseigneur de* Rossi, brother of the Count 
of San Secondo. I took this gentleman away from 


liis inn, and lodged him in my castle, giving him also 
apartments of his own, where he installed himself 
very comfortably with his servants and equipage for 
many months. At another time I put up Messer 
Luigi Alamanni and his sons for several months. 
Truly God was good to me in enabling me to be of 
service to great and distinguished men like these. 
Messer Guido and I rejoiced in our friendship all 
the years I remained in Paris ; and often did we con- 
gratulate ourselves and each other that we were gain- 
ing skill at the cost of the great and wonderful 
prince, each in his own profession. I can truly say 
that, whatever I am, whatever of good and beauty I 
have produced, is all due to that admirable King. So 
now I pick up the thread of my story, to speak of 
him and of the great things I executed for him. 

XXV. In my castle I had a tennis-court, which I 
made very profitable by hiring it out to players. 
There were also some small rooms in the place where 
lived all sorts of men, and among them a very clever 
printer of books. Nearly the whole of his establish- 
ment lay inside my castle ; and it was he who printed 
Messer Guido's first fine book on medicine. As I 
needed the rooms myself, I turned him out ; but it was 
no easy matter. There was also a maker of saltpetre, 
whose rooms I wanted for some of my German 
workmen ; but he would not budge. Several times 
I had asked him courteously to oblige me by quitting 
my rooms, since I wished to lodge in them my work- 
men in the King's service. The more politely I 
spoke, the more insolently did the beast reply ; and 
at last I gave him three days' notice, at which he 
laughed, and said that in three years' time he might 
begin to think about it. I did not know that he was 
of the household of Madame d'Etampes. And had 
it not been that the affair with Madame d'Etampes 
made me rather more prudent than I was wont to 
be, I should have turned him out on the spot. As it 


was, I made up my mind to have patience for three 
days. When the time was up, without another word 
to him, I called in the aid of my Germans, Italians, 
and Frenchmen, all armed, as well as many of the 
rougher workmen I employed ; and in a short time I 
dismantled his whole house, and turned all his pro- 
perty outside my castle. The treatment was some- 
what severe ; but I had recourse to it because he had 
said to me, that he knew not a single Italian strong 
enough or daring enough to move even a nail from 
his walls. So now, when the thing was done, he 
made his appearance ; and I said to him, " I am the 
least Itahan in all Italy ; and I have done nothing to 
you compared to what I had it in my mind to do, 
and what I shall do, if you venture to speak one 
word." And these were not the only insults I threw 
at him. The man, astounded and terrified, collected 
his things as well as he could ; and then ran to 
Madame d'Etampes, and described me as the very 
devil. And she, my great enemy, painted me in still 
worse colours to the King, being more eloquent and 
more powerful. Twice, as was told me, his Majesty 
was on the point of being angered, and of giving an 
order against me. But his son Henry, the Dauphin, 
to-day the King of France, who had been uncourte- 
ously treated by the proud lady, and the Queen of 
Navarre, too. King Francis's sister, spoke in my 
favour so tactfully that his Majesty turned the whole 
thing into a jest. So, by the help of God, I escaped 
a greater misfortune. 

xxvi. I had to do very much the same thing with 
another man of the kind ; but I did not ruin his 
house : I only threw all his things out. And on this 
occasion Madame d'Etampes had the face to say to 
the King, " I believe this devil will sack Paris one 
day ! " The King repHed with heat that I did most 
rightly to defend myself from the low scoundrels who 
wished to hinder me in my service of him. Every 


hour the rage of this cruel lady increased. She sent 
for a painter who had his residence at Fontainebleau, 
where the King nearly always was. He was a 
Bolognese, and was known as II Bologna, though his 
right name was Francesco Primaticcio. Madame 
d'Etampes bade him ask the King to give him the 
commission for the fountain which his Majesty had 
assigned to me ; and she promised to second him by 
every means in her power. So it was agreed between 
them. Bologna was happier than ever he had been 
in his life; and felt quite sure of the thing, though it 
was not the kind of work he was used to. But he 
was a very good designer, and he had in his employ- 
ment several workmen trained under Rosso, our 
Florentine painter, who was, of a truth, a very able 
man. In fact, whatever good work Bologna did 
was due to his imitation of the style of Rosso, who 
was now dead. 

Their clever arguments, along with the powerful 
influence of Madame d'Etampes, did the work ; for 
night and day they kept on hammering at the King. 
When Madame stopped, Bologna began. But what 
affected him most strongly was their both saying, 
" How is it possible, Sacred Majesty, that Benvenuto 
can make you the twelve silver statues you are so 
eager for ? See, he has not yet finished one. If you 
encourage him in this new and important under- 
taking, it is certain you will never get the other 
things you are so set on ; for not even a hundred of 
the ablest men could finish such great works as this 
one man has already in hand. It is plain he is eager 
for work ; but for that very reason it seems likely 
your Majesty will lose both him and his work at one 
stroke." These and other reasons were set forth just 
when the King was in the right temper for enter- 
taining them ; and so he agreed to all they asked him. 
Yet he had never been shown any designs or models 
for the work in question from the hand of Bologna. 



xxvii. About this time the second tenant I had 
evicted from my castle took action against me, pro- 
testing that I had stolen a great quantity of his 
goods when I had turned him out. This law-suit 
gave me endless worry, and took up so much time 
that often I was in despair, and wished to leave the 
place for good. In France they are wont to make 
no end of capital out of a suit against a foreigner, or 
any one whom they see little disposed for litigation. 
As soon as they find there is something to be got 
out of the suit, they try to sell it ; for men have been 
known to give suits as dowries with their daughters 
to such as make their living out of these contracts. 
Another wicked custom, which nearly all the Nor- 
mans have, is their skilful concoction of false evidence. 
So it happens that those who buy the suits, at once 
instruct five or six perjurers, according to the need j 
and thus a man who does not know the custom, and 
has had no hint given him to provide just as many 
to swear against them, has no chance of winning 
his case. 

These things happened to me ; and the whole 
affair seeming most dishonest, I appeared in the 
great hall of Paris to defend my rights. There I 
saw a judge, the King's deputy in civil cases, sitting 
on a great raised tribunal — a tall, heavy, fat man he 
was, of the severest aspect. To the right and left of 
him were a number of procurators and advocates. 
Others came, one at a time, and each presented his 
case to the judge. I heard the pleaders at his side all 
speaking at once ; and I stood there marvelling at 
that astonishing man, with the Pluto-like face, in his 
watchful attitude, now lending ear to one, now to 
the other, and answering each witl\ abihty. Now it 
has always delighted me to see and savour every kind 
of skill ; and this struck me as so wonderful that I 
would not have missed it for anything. As the great 
hall was already full of people, thev took care to let 


no one enter who had no business there. The door 
was kept locked, and a guardian stood to bar the 
way. Occasionally this guard, in preventing the en- 
trance of some one who had no right there, inter- 
rupted the judge with the great noise he made, and 
the judge then got in a fury and rated the guardian 
soundly. This happened several times j and I noticed 
the thing, and likewise caught the precise words 
which fell from the judge's lips. It happened that 
two gentlemen were determined to get in to watch 
the proceedings, and the porter was resisting stoutly. 
Thereupon the judge cried in a loud voice, " Silence ! 
Silence ! Satan, hence with you ! Silence ! " Now 
in the French tongue these words sound like, Phe 
phe^ Satan^ phe phe^ aVe^ phe I [Paix^ paix^ Satan; 
allez^ paix /] I had become proficient in the French 
language ; and, hearing these words, I recalled what 
Dante said when he and his master Virgil entered 
the doors of Hell. Now Dante and the painter 
Giotto were together in France, and particularly in 
Paris, where, for the reasons I have here set forth, 
the place of justice is indeed an Inferno. Thus 
Dante, who knew the French tongue well, made use 
of this saying. And it has seemed to me curious 
that the line has never been understood in this sense j 
and so I declare and believe that the commentators 
make him say things he never thought of. 

xxviii. Now to return to my own business. 
When I learned what was the kind of judgment I had 
to expect from these men of law, and saw no other 
way of helping myself, I had recourse for my defence 
to a great dagger which I possessed — for I have ever 
delighted in having fine weapons. The first I 
assaulted was the man who had brought the unjust 
law-suit against me ; and one evening I wounded 
him so seriously as to deprive him of the use of his 
legs, as well as injuring his arms. But I took care 
not to kill him. Then I found the other man who 


had brought the suit ; and gave him what made him 
glad enough to stop his litigation. Thanking God 
for this and all His other mercies, and hoping I 
might now be left unmolested for a time, I entreated 
the young men of my house, especially the Italians, 
to attend each to his own business, for the love of 
God, and give me good help for a while, so that I 
might complete the works I had begun. As soon as 
I had finished them, I wished to return to Italy ; for 
I could not endure any more the rascalities of these 
Frenchmen ; and if the good King once lost patience, 
it would go badly with me that I had frequently 
defended myself in the way I have described. Of 
the Italians the first and the dearest was Ascanio 
from Tagliacozzo, in the kingdom of Naples ; the 
next was Pagolo, the Roman, a man of very humble 
birth, who did not know his own father. These 
were the two I had brought from Rome, and who 
had lived there with me. Another Roman had come 
to seek me out, whose name was also Pagolo, the son 
of a poor gentleman of the Macaroni house. This 
young fellow did not know much about art ; but he 
knew very well how to handle his sword. Another 
of them was from Ferrara, Bartolommeo Chioccia by 
name. And one was a Florentine called Pagolo 
Micceri. His brother, nick-named " II Gatta," was 
noted for his skill in book-keeping, but had ruined 
himself in looking after the estate of Tommaso 
Guadagni, a rich merchant. This Gatta put my 
books straight, in which I kept the accounts of the 
most Christian King and of my other customers. 
Pagolo Micceri, having learnt the method from his 
brother, carried on the work for me, and I paid him 
excellently for it. He seemed to be a very good 
young man. I thought him devout, hearing him 
humming psalms all the time, and seeing him finger 
his rosary, and I counted much on this feigned piety. 
One day I said to him, "Pagolo, dearest brother, 


you see how comfortable you are with me, and you 
know you had nothing of your own to begin with. 
Besides, you are a Florentine. Likewise, I trust you 
the more that I see you very devout in the practices 
of religion, which pleases me very much. I entreat 
you, therefore, to help me, for I have not too much 
confidence in any of the others. Therefore I beg 
you to look carefully after two things of great im- 
portance, out of which might arise endless worry for 
me. One is to watch over my property that it be 
not stolen ; and mind not to touch it yourself. The 
next thing is this : you know that poor child Cater- 
ina. I keep her in my house chiefly on account of my 
art — for I must have a model. But since I am a 
man, I have also kept her for my pleasure ; and it 
may be she will bear me a child. Now I don't want 
to spend my money on other people's children ; still 
less could I support such an insult to my honour. 
If any one in the house were audacious enough to do 
such a thing, and I were aware of it, I verily believe 
I should kill them both. Therefore I beg you, dear 
brother, to help me ; and if you see anything amiss, 
tell me at once ; and I'll send her, and her mother, 
and her seducer to the gallows. But keep a watch 
first of all on yourself." The rascal made the sign 
of the cross from his head to his feet, and said, 
" Blessed Jesus ! God forbid that I should ever think 
of such a thing ! To begin with, I am not given to 
these villainies. Besides, don't you believe I am 
aware of all I owe to you ? " When I heard him 
say these things so simply, and with such a look 
of affection, I believed that things were just as he 

xxix. Two days after was a feast day ; and Messer 
Mattio del Nazaro, another Italian sculptor in the 
service of the King, had invited me and my young 
men to a party of pleasure in a garden. So 1 pre- 
pared to go, and I told Pagolo that he too might 


come out and enjoy himself; for it seemed to me 
that things had now quieted down after that trouble- 
some law-suit. But the young man answered, "It 
would indeed be a great mistake to leave the house 
unguarded. Think of all the gold and silver and 
jewels you have here. Being as we are in a city of 
robbers, we should watch day as well as night. So I 
will wait at home and say my prayers, guarding the 
house the while. Go with an easy mind and enjoy 
yourself. Another time one of the rest will take my 

It seemed to me I might go off without any 
anxiety; and so I took Pagolo, Ascanio, and Chioccia 
to the garden, and there we spent a good part of the 
day very pleasantly. When it was drawing towards 
evening, another humour took me, and I began to 
brood over the words the villain had said to me with 
such an air of simplicity. So I mounted my horse 
and returned to the castle with two of my servants. 
There I nearly caught Pagolo and that hussy Caterina. 
As soon as I arrived, that French bawd of a mother 
called out loud, " Pagolo ! Caterina ! here's the 
master." When I saw them both terror-struck, 
coming towards me all in disorder, not knowing 
what they were saying, nor in their daze where they 
were going, their guilt was too plainly to be seen. 
Reason in me was choked with anger ; and, seizing 
my sword, I resolved to kill the two of them. But 
Pagolo ran away ; and the woman threw herself on 
her knees and cried aloud to Heaven for pity. My 
first idea was to attack the man ; but I could not 
catch him at once ; and by the time I did so I had 
made up my mind that the best course was to chase them 
both away. For I had so many violent deeds to my 
account, that were I to add another, I could hardly 
escape with my life. So I said to Pagolo, " Rascal, 
had I seen with my eyes what your appearance com- 
pels me to believe, then this sword would have run 


you ten times through. Now be ofF with you ! 
And if you ever say another Paternoster, may it be 
San Giuliano*s ! " Then I hustled out the mother 
and the daughter, with blow and shove and cufF and 
kick. They were determined to revenge themselves 
for this treatment ; and took counsel of a Norman 
advocate, who told them to say I had used Caterina 
in the Italian fashion. " At least," said he, " when 
the Italian hears of this, he will bribe you with 
several hundreds of ducats that you may hold your 
tongues ; for he will know the grave penalty attach- 
ing in France to such a crime." So it was agreed. 
They brought the accusation against me, and I was 

XXX. The more I longed for rest, the more did 
troubles spring up. Every day assailed by Fortune 
in divers ways, I brooded over the best course for me 
to pursue, whether to make ofF without a word to any 
one, and let France go to the devil, or to fight this 
thing out, and see for what end God had created me. 
For some time I worried over this matter. At last 
I made up my mind to be off, and not provoke my 
evil fortune over much, lest I should run my neck 
into a noose. I had made all my arrangements, and 
taken steps to dispose of the property I could not 
carry with me. The lighter things my servants and 
I were to carry on our persons as best we could. 

Still, I was taking my departure with a very heavy 
heart. And so one day I was sitting by myself in a 
little study. My young men had been counselling 
me to be off; but I told them that I must think 
over the matter a little alone, though I knew that in 
great part they spoke the truth, tor if I could only 
keep out of prison, and let this fury spend itself 
somewhat, I could much better excuse myself to the 
King by letters, which should prove to him how this 
cruel slander was the work of men who envied me. 
Well, as I have said, I had made up my mind to this 


course, when just as I rose to prepare for my depart- 
ure, some invisible one took me by the shoulder and 
turned me about. Then a rousing voice said in my 
ear, " Benvenuto, do as you are wont, and fear not ! " 
On the spot I changed my mind entirely, and said 
to my Italian friends, "Arm yourselves well, and 
come out with me, and do just as I bid you. Not 
another word on the matter, for I am going to 
answer my summons. If I were to leave next day, 
you would all vanish in smoke. So do my bidding, 
and on with me." Then all together the lads cried, 
"Since we are here, and live on Benvenuto, we 
should go with him and help him to do what he 
intends so long as there is life in us. There is more 
truth in what he says than in what we proposed ; for 
as soon as he is out of this, his enemies would send 
us packing. Let us think of all the great works 
which are begun, and how important they are. We 
could not finish them without him ; and his enemies 
would declare he had gone because their completion 
was beyond him." They said many sensible things 
besides. Macaroni, the young Roman, was the first 
to put spirit into them, and he enlisted also several 
Germans and Frenchmen who were friends of 

We were ten in all. I took the road with my 
mind fixed fast not to be taken alive. When I came 
into the presence of the criminal judges, I found 
Caterina and her mother laughing together with 
their advocate. On my entrance I demanded the 
judge in a bold voice. He was sitting raised above 
the others on a tribunal, swelled and big and fat. 
When he saw me, he shook his head threateningly, 
and said in a low voice, "Though you are called 
Benvenuto, this time you are rather Malvenuto (ill 
come)." I caught his meaning, and, speaking again, 
I said, " Dispatch this affair of mine. Let me know 
what I am here for." Then the judge turned to 


Catcrina and said, " Caterina, tell all that has taken 
place between you and Benvenuto." She replied I 
had used her in the Italian manner. Then, turning 
to me, the judge said, " You hear what she says." 
And I answered, " If I have done so, it was only 
because I wished to have a son like the rest of you." 
Whereupon the judge replied that the accusation 
was quite other ; and I answered he must be referring 
to some French rather than an Italian custom, 
since she knew more about it than I j and I ordered 
her to tell just what our relations had been. Then 
the wicked hussy said right out the beastliness which 
she scandalously accused me of. I made her repeat 
it three times one after the other ; and when she had 
finished I cried aloud, "My lord judge, deputy of the 
most Christian King, I claim justice ! I know the 
laws condemn both parties in such a crime to be 
burned at the stake. Now she confesses her sin. I 
have had nothing to do with it. Her bawd of a 
mother is here, and she has done more than enough 
to deserve the stake. I call on you for justice ! " 
This I cried again and again in a loud voice, demand- 
ing the stake for her mother, and declaring to the 
judge that if he did not commit her to prison there 
and then, I should run to the King and tell him the 
wrong done to me by his deputy in the criminal 
courts. Those on the other side began to speak in 
lower tones when they heard me storming ; and 
then I stormed yet louder. The hussy and her 
mother set to weeping, and I called to the judge, 
" To the fire with them ! to the fire ! " The great 
coward of a judge, seeing the thing was not going as 
he had planned, began with insinuating words to 
excuse the frailty of the female sex. At that I felt 
I had got the best in a big fight ; and, grumbling and 
threatening, I gladly took myself off the scene. In 
fact I would have paid five hundred crowns never to 
have appeared there. Saved from that abyss, I gave 


thanks to God with all my heart, and returned in 
good spirits with my young men to my castle. 

xxxi. When perverse fortune — or if we like to 
call it so, our unlucky star — aims at persecuting us, 
it never lacks new means of attack. It seemed to 
me that as I had just escaped a terrible abyss, my 
evil star would leave me alone for a time. But 
before I had recovered my breath after that awful 
peril, it suddenly sprang fresh trials upon me. At 
the end of three days two things happened, each of 
which put my life in the balance. This was the 
first. I went to Fontainebleau to talk with the 
King, who had written me a letter, saying he wished 
me to make the dies for the coins of the whole 
kingdom. In the letter he sent me a few little 
designs, to indicate in some way what he wanted. 
But, nevertheless, he gave me leave to do them 
exactly as I pleased ; and so I made new designs 
after my own ideas, and in accordance with the 
rules of art. Well, when I got to Fontainebleau, 
one of the treasurers who had been ordered by the 
King to supply my needs — Monsieur de la Fa was 
he called — made haste to say, "Benvenuto, the 
painter Bologna has got a commission from the 
King to make your great Colossus ; and all the 
orders given us by his Majesty on your account 
are diverted from you in favour of him. We are 
all very angry, for we think that Italian fellow has 
behaved very insolently towards you. The work 
was given to you on the strength of your models 
and your labours. He takes it from you only 
because he is in favour with Madame d'Etampes. 
It is many months ago since he got the order ; 
yet up till now there is no sign of his having set 
to work. I was astonished, and said, " How is it 
possible that I have never heard a word of this ? '* 
Then he told me that Bologna had kept it very 
secret ; that he had got the work, indeed, with the 


greatest difficulty, for the King had been unwilling ; 
and only the persistence of Madame d*Etampes had 
won it for him. I felt that a great wrong had been 
done me j and when I thought how a work which 
I had gained with great labour had been wrenched 
from me, I made up my mind to do something 
decisive. So, girding on my sword, I went in 
search of Bologna. I found him in his room, 
engaged in study. He called to me to come in j 
and with some Lombard palaver asked me what 
business had given him the pleasure of a visit j and 
I answered, " An excellent business, and an im- 
portant one." Then he ordered his servants to 
bring wine, saying, "Before we discuss anything, 
let us drink together ; for such is the custom here 
in France." But I replied, "Messer Francesco, I 
would have you know that the matters we are about 
to discuss together do not call for drinking in the 
first instance. Perhaps afterwards we may do so." 
And so I began the discussion. "All who have 
any pretensions to be men of worth act so that 
they may be known for such ; otherwise they no 
longer get the name of honest men. I know that 
you were aware the King had given me a com- 
mission to make a great Colossus. There was talk 
about it for eighteen months ; and neither you nor 
any one else came forward to say a word on the 
matter. It was by my own great labours I proved 
my capacity to the King, who was pleased with my 
models, and for that reason entrusted the thing to 
me. All these months I have not heard of any 
other intention he had formed, till this morning 
when I learnt that you had got the commission, 
having wrested it away from me. This work I had 
won by my proven deeds ; and you steal it from me 
by mere empty words." 

xxxii. To this Bologna replied, "O Benvenuto, 
every one tries to forward his own interests in every 



way possible. If the King wills this, what have you 
to reply ? You would but waste your time ; for I 
have it all arranged, and the thing is mine. Now 
say what youVe got to say. I shall listen." Then I 
replied, " I would have you know, Messer Francesco, 
that I have a great deal to say, which would prove 
to you indisputably, and make you confess that such 
things as you have said and done are not customary 
among rational beings. But I will briefly come to 
the point I am aiming at. So now lend me your ears, 
and hear me well, for the matter is of consequence.'* 
Seeing me flushed, and my face greatly changed, he 
was about to move from his seat ; but I told him it 
was not yet time to move, that he was to sit still 
and Hsten to me. Then I began again, "Messer 
Francesco, you know that the work was mine first, 
and that the time is past when any one had a right 
to discuss the matter. Yet I declare that I shall be 
content, if you make a model, and I make one too, 
different from my first. Then we shall take them 
peaceably to our great King ; and whoever can 
boast of having produced the best work in this way 
will deserve the Colossus. And if you succeed, I 
shall banish from my mind all thought of the great 
injury you have done me, and will bless your hands 
as more worthy than mine of such glory. Let's 
agree to this, and we shall be friends. Otherwise, 
it's war between us. And God, who always helps 
the right, and I who know how to help myself, will 
prove to you your great mistake." Then answered 
Messer Francesco, " The work is mine, and since it 
has been given to me, I will not hazard my chances." 
To which I replied, "Messer Francesco, since you 
will not take the right way, the just and reasonable 
one, I will show you another quite as disagreeable as 
your own. So now listen to me ; if ever I hear 
that you have spoken one word about this work of 
mine, I'll kill you like a dog. We are neither in 



Rome, nor Bologna, nor in Florence ; and things 
are managed differently here. If ever I hear you 
have mentioned the subject to the King or any one 
else, I wrill most certainly have your life. So choose 
your course, the first I suggested, which is good, or 
the other I now point out to you, which is bad." 
The man knew not what to say or do ; and I was 
more of a mind to do the thing at once than put it 
off. But he said nothing save, " If I behave like an 
honest man, I need fear nothing in the world " ; to 
which I answered, " That's all right ; but if you do 
the contrary, then you'll have good reason to fear, 
for this is no jesting matter." 

Then I left him and went to the King. His 
Majesty and I argued for a long time about the 
making of the coins, concerning which we were not 
of one mind. His council were present, and per- 
suaded him that the coins should be made in the 
French style, as they had been up till now. But I 
replied that his Majesty had sent for me from Italy 
to do good work. If now he ordered the contrary, 
it did not suit me to obey. So at this point the 
question was put off, to be discussed at another 
time, and I returned at once to Paris. 

xxxiii. No sooner had I dismounted than one of 
those good folks who take pleasure in seeing one's 
misfortunes, came to tell me that Pagolo Micceri had 
taken a house for that little baggage Caterina and her 
mother, and that he was always paying her visits ; 
also that when he spoke of me, it was with contempt, 
as : " Benvenuto set the cat to watch the cream, and 
thought it would not lap it. Now all he can do is 
to swagger, thinking I am afraid of him. But I 
have girt myself with this sword and this dagger, to let 
him see that mine can cut as well as his ; that I am 
a Florentine as much as he, and of the Micceri, a 
much better house than the Cellini." The rascal's 
story had such an effect on me that I was seized 



with a sudden fever — fever it was : I do not speak in 
figures. And this mad passion might have brought 
me to my death, had not I given vent to it as the 
opportunity occurred, and according to my instinct 
of the moment. So I told my Ferrarese workman 
Chioccia to come with me, and ordered a servant to 
follow with my horse. Having reached the villain's 
house, we found the door ajar. I went in and saw 
him with hi^ sword and dagger by his side, seated on 
a chest, with his arm round Caterina's neck. Just as I 
came in, I heard him and her mother joking about my 
affairs. Pushing the door open, I seized my sword 
and pointed it at his throat, giving him no time to 
bethink himself that he too was armed. " Base 
coward ! " I shouted. " Recommend yourself to God, 
for you are a dead man ! " Too terrified to move, 
he called out thrice, " O mother mine, help me ! ** 
I had meant to kill him on the spot ; but hearing him 
utter these foolish words, half my anger passed away. 
Meanwhile I had ordered my apprentice, Chioccia, 
not to let either the mother or daughter out of the 
house ; for when I had punished the man, I meant 
to do as much to the two worthless jades. So I kept 
the point of my sword at his throat, now and then 
giving him a little prick, and raining threats on him 
the while. But when I saw that he did nothing to 
defend himself, I did not know what more to do ; 
and it looked as if I might go on threatening him 
for ever. So another idea came into my head. 
What better could I do than force them to marry ? 
I could wait for my revenge. Having made up my 
mind, I said, "Take that ring you have on your 
finger, coward, and marry her, that I may pay you 
out as you deserve." He answered at once, " If only 
you do not kill me, I will do anything you please." 
Then I said, "Put that ring on her finger." I 
withdrew the sword a httle from his throat, and he 
did as I told him. " This is not enough," I added. 



"I wish two notaries to be fetched, that it may be 
a real contract." I told Chioccia to go for the 
notaries ; and then, turning to Caterina and her 
mother, and speaking in French, I said, "Notaries 
and witnesses have been sent for. The first of you 
who lets out this business I will kill ; indeed, I will 
kill the three of you. Keep that in mind." To 
Pagolo I said in Italian, " If you hinder my purpose, 
at the least word I shall tear your guts out with my 
dagger." He answered, " If only you do not kill 
me, I will do whatever you like." The notaries and 
witnesses came and drew up the contract in proper 
form. Then the heat of the fever passed out of me ; 
and after I had paid the notaries' fees I took myself 

Next day Bologna came to Paris, and sent Mattio 
del Nasaro for me. I went to see him ; and he 
received me with a smile on his face, begging me to 
hold him as a brother. He promised he would never 
speak about the commission again ; for he knew 
quite well that I was in the right. 

xxxiv. If I did not own that in some of these 
incidents I did wrong, my account of the others, in 
which I know I did well, would be suspect. So I own 
I made a mistake in revenging myself so violently on 
Pagolo Micceri. Had I known him to be such a 
weak creature, it would never have come into my 
head to shame him by such a vengeance. For it was 
not enough for me that I had made him take to wife 
this wicked hussy. Over and above that, to com- 
plete my scheme of vengeance, I made her pose to 
me as a model, naked, for thirty soldi a day. I paid 
her in advance and fed her well ; but I used her for 
my pleasure out of revenge, and then cast this insult 
in her husband's teeth and her own. Moreover, I 
forced her to pose in an uncomfortable position hour 
after hour, which annoyed her as much as it delighted 
me ; for her form was very lovely, and did me much 



credit. When she saw that I did not treat her so 
discreetly as before her marriage, she grew very 
angry, began to grumble, and then, in her French 
way, to brag about her husband, who had gone to be 
with the Prior of Capua, Piero Strozzi's brother. 
When she said all this about her husband, I was 
seized with fury ; only to hear her speak of him was 
too much. But I bore it, though against my will, 
as best I could, thinking that I should never find 
any more fitting model for my art than she, and 
saying to myself, "I am wreaking a double vengeance. 
For she is now a wife ; and therefore I do him a 
more serious injury than he did me when she was a 
mere hussy in my house. If then I can revenge 
myself in so marked a manner on him, and treat her 
severely too, making her pose in these painful 
attitudes, not only have I the sweets of revenge, but 
I get both credit and profit out of her beauty as a 
model. And what more can I desire ? " While I 
was summing the thing up in this way, the creature 
repeated her insults, pestering me about her husband 
till she tired out my patience completely. So, yielding 
to my wrath, I took her by the hair and dragged her 
about the room, kicking and mauHng her till I was 
worn out. And nobody could come to her help. 
When I had beaten her well, she swore she would 
never come back to me again. So I thought I had 
made a mistake, and had lost an excellent opportunity 
of gaining honour in my profession. Besides, all 
bruised and livid and swollen as she was, I saw that, 
even if she were to come back, it would be necessary 
to have her wounds treated for a fortnight, before she 
could be of any use to me. 

XXXV. But to return to her. I sent a servant to 
help her to dress, an old woman called Ruberta, a 
most kindly person. She brought food and drink for 
the hussy ; then she anointed the worst wounds I had 
dealt her with some bacon fat ; and what was over 



they ate together. When she was dressed, she went 
away blustering and cursing all the Italians, together 
with the King who maintained them, and weeping 
and muttering all the way home. I confess that on 
this first occasion I thought I had done very wrong ; 
and my Ruberta scolded me, saying, " You are a brute 
to behave so cruelly to such a pretty girl." I excused 
myself to the old woman, and told her all the villainies 
Caterina and her mother had done to me when she was 
living in my house. But Ruberta still scolded me, 
telling me that was nothing, but only the French 
way ; and that she was certain that there was not a 
husband in France who had not his horns. At this 
I burst out laughing, and then told Ruberta to go 
and see how Caterina was ; for I wished very much 
to have her again as a model till I had finished my 
work. Ruberta cut me short, saying I did not know 
the world. " For as soon as day breaks," said she, 
"she will come of her own accord. But if you send 
to ask after her, or go to see her, she'll give herself 
airs, and won't come at all." 

Next day Caterina came to my house and knocked 
so furiously at the door, that I, who was below, ran 
to see if it was a madman or any of my own house- 
hold. When I opened the door, the little wretch 
laughed and threw herself on my neck, embracing 
and kissing me, and asking me if I was still angry 
with her. I said no, and she said, " Give me some- 
thing to break my fast on." This I did, and I ate 
with her in token of peace. Afterwards she posed 
for me again, and I amused myself with her ; and 
then just at the same hour as before she exasperated 
me so that I had to repeat the punishment. Thus it 
went on for several days. Every day the same things 
happened, with hardly a single variation. 

When I had finished my figure most creditably, I 
prepared to cast it in bronze. In this I experienced 
some difficulties, to tell of which would be most inter- 



csting, so far as my art is concerned ; but as it would 
take too long, I will pass it over. Enough to say 
that my figure came out excellently, and the casting 
could not have been surpassed. 

xxxvi. While I was getting on with this work, I 
set apart certain hours of the day for the salt-cellar, 
and others for the Jupiter. As there were more 
persons working on the former than I could employ 
on the statue, the salt-cellar was the first to be 
finished. The King had returned to Paris, and I 
went to see him, taking the completed work with 
me. As I have said before, it was of oval form, 
about two-thirds of a cubit high, and was all of gold, 
worked with the chisel. And as I also said, when I 
spoke of the model, it represented the Sea and the 
Land. Both figures were seated, with their legs 
interlaced, just as arms of the sea run into the land, 
or as the land juts out into the water ; so that their 
attitude was significant. In the Sea's right hand I 
had placed a trdent, and in his left a ship, very finely 
worked, to hold the salt. Under the figure were his 
four sea-horses, which from head to chest, and then 
again from the legs to the fore hoofs, were like 
ordinary horses ; the middle and all the back parts 
were like fishes, the tails of which were intertwined 
in the prettiest way. The Sea was sitting above 
the group in proud and noble attitude j and all round 
him were different kinds of fishes and other marine 
creatures. The water was represented by waves 
exquisitely enamelled in its own colour. For the 
Land, I had made a lovely lady with a cornucopia in 
her hand, naked like the male figure. In her left 
hand I had placed a little Ionic temple, very finely 
wrought, and this was meant for the pepper. Under 
her I had fashioned the most beautiful animals which 
the earth produces ; and the land-rocks I had partly 
enamelled, and partly left in gold. The whole stood 
on a base of black ebony of the proper size, which 



was surrounded by a shallow gorge decorated with 
four gold figures in something more than half-relief, 
representing Night, Day, Twilight, and Dawn. 
Four other figures of the same size were meant for 
the four chief winds. They were carried out partly 
in enamel, and with all the exquisiteness you can 

When I set the piece before him, the King cried 
aloud in astonishment, and could not look at it long 
enough. But he told me to take it home with me 
again, and he would tell me in due time what I should 
do with it. I did so, and at once invited some of 
my good friends, and we dined together very merrily, 
the salt-cellar being in the centre of the table. And 
so we were the first to use it. Then I went on with 
the silver Jupiter, and worked also on the great vase 
I have already mentioned, which was covered with 
many delightful ornaments and figures. 

xxxvii. About this time Bologna the painter gave 
the King to understand that it would be a good 
thing if his Majesty sent him to Rome with letters 
of recommendation, so that he might take casts of 
the principal masterpieces of antique sculpture, the 
Laocoon, the Cleopatra, the Venus, the Commodus, 
the Zingara, and the Apollo. These are, in truth, 
the finest things in Rome. When his Majesty 
had seen these marvellous works, he said, he 
would then be able to form an opinion on the art of 
design ; for all he had seen from the hands of our 
modern artists was far below the perfection of those 
antiques. The King was quite willing to give him 
all the recommendations he asked for. So off went 
the beast in the devil's name. He had not had the 
pluck to try and rival me with the work of his own 
hands ; but played me the very Lombard trick of 
depreciating my work by copying antiques. Now 
although he had these casts excellently made, the 
effect he produced was just the opposite to what he 
M 34^ 


had intended. But that is a thing I shall tell later 
on in its own place. 

I had now cut myself off entirely from that wretch 
Caterina, and the poor unlucky young husband of 
hers had disappeared from Paris. Wishing now to 
complete my Fontainebleau, which was already carried 
out in bronze, also to finish the two Victories, which 
were meant to fit into the angles of the semicircle 
above the door, I took as model a poor young girl or 
about fifteen. She was lovely in shape, and some- 
thing of a brunette ; and as she was a wild little 
thing, with hardly a word to say for herself, swift in 
her movements and sullen-eyed, I called her Scorzone ; 
but her own name was Jeanne. With this girl as 
model I finished the bronze Fontainebleau very satis- 
factorily, as also the two Victories for the door. 
The young thing was pure and virginal, and I got 
her with child. She bore me a daughter at the 
thirteenth hour of the yth of June 1544, when I was 
just forty-four years old. This daughter, to whom I 
gave the name of Costanza, was held at the font by 
Messer Guido Guidi, the King's physician, a great 
friend of mine, as I have said before. He was the 
only godfather ; for it is the custom in France to have 
one godfather and two godmothers. One of these 
was the Signora Maddalena, wife of Luigi Alamanni, 
a Florentine gentleman, and an admirable poet. The 
other was the wife of Messer Ricciardo del Bene, 
one of our Florentine citizens, and a rich merchant 
in Paris. She was a great French lady. This was 
the first child I ever had, so far as I remember. I 
assigned to her a dowry of the amount suggested by 
her aunt, into whose care I gave her. After that I 
never had anything more to do with her. 

xxxviii. I hurried on with my work, and made 

great progress with it. The Jupiter was almost 

finished ; so was the vase ; and the door began to 

show its beauties. About this time the King came 



to Paris ; for though I have spoken of the birth of 
my daughter in 1544, we were still in 1543. ^^* 
it seemed the most convenient place to mention this 
daughter of mine ; and I did so, that later I might not 
break into the tale of other things of more importance ; 
and I shall say no more of her till the proper time.* 
Well, as I have said, the King returned to Paris, 
and before long he came to my house, and found all 
those works so well in hand, that any one might have 
been pleased at the sight ; and, in truth, the pleasure 
that glorious King took in them was great enough 
even to satisfy me, on whom all the burden of them 
had fallen. All at once he remembered, without any 
suggestion from me, that the Cardinal of Ferrara had 
done nothing for me, neither given me a pension nor 
anything else he had promised. Then in a whispered 
conversation with his Admiral, he said the Cardinal 
had behaved very ill to give me nothing ; but he 
would remedy that, for he saw I was a man who 
would make little complaint, but might all of a sudden 
take myself off without a word. 

When he returned home, he said to the Cardinal, 
after dinner, that he was to order the treasurer of 
the Exchequer to pay me, as soon as possible, seven 
thousand gold crowns, in three or four instalments, 
according to his convenience, and that he was not to 
neglect it. He said, moreover, " I gave Benvenuto 
in charge to you, and you have done nothing for 
him." The Cardinal replied he would willingly 
obey his Majesty in everything ; but his evil nature 
induced him to put off seeing to the matter till it 
had gone out of the King's head. 

Meanwhile war and strife were on the increase ; 
for it was the time when the Emperor with his huge 
army was advancing on Paris. Then the Cardinal, 
who saw that Francis was in great want of money, 
began one day to speak about me to the King. 
" Sacred Majesty," he said, " I have thought it best 



not to give any money to Benvenuto — in the first 
place, because at present we need it too much our- 
selves ; and, secondly, because had I given him a 
great sum of money, it w^ould rather have lost you 
Benvenuto. For, feeling himself a rich man, he 
would have bought property in Italy, and any day 
the idea entered his head, he would have left you with 
the utmost indifference. So I think it best for your 
Majesty to give him something in your own king- 
dom, if- you would keep him long in your service." 
The King thought well of these reasons, being, 
indeed, in want of money. Nevertheless, like the 
generous soul he was, ever worthy of his great place, 
he was of opinion that the Cardinal had taken this 
course rather with a view to gaining favour for him- 
self, than because he had gauged beforehand the needs 
of the great kingdom. 

xxxix. Although, as I have said, the King pre- 
tended to find the Cardinal's reasons of weight, in 
his secret heart he thought nothing of the kind. So 
the very next day after he came back to Paris, with- 
out any hint or invitation from me, he came of his 
own accord to my house. There I met him, and 
led him through different rooms, where were divers 
sorts of work displayed. Beginning at the least 
noteworthy, I showed him a great quantity of bronze 
pieces ; for long he had not seen so many. Then I 
led him up to the silver Jupiter, now almost finished, 
with all its various exquisite ornaments. It seemed 
to him a much more wonderful thing than it might 
have appeared to another ; and this was on account 
of an unfortunate occurrence which had happened 
some few years before. After the taking of Tunis, 
the Emperor passed through Paris, by agreement 
with his brother-in-law. King Francis, who on the 
occasion wished to make him a present worthy of so 
great a monarch. So he ordered a silver Hercules, 
of the same size as my Jupiter. Now this Hercules, 




the King swore, was the most hideous thing he had 
ever seen ; and he had said so to the Paris artists. 
They have the pretension to be the most skilled in 
their profession, and they protested to him that this 
was the perfection of what could be done in silver, 
and demanded two thousand ducats for their rubbish. 
So now when the King saw my work, it seemed 
to him a thing of such exquisite skill that he could 
hardly believe his eyes. Therefore he made a careful 
estimate, valuing mine also at two thousand ducats, 
saying, " To those others I gave no salary. But a 
man who gets from me about a thousand crowns a 
year, may well let me have it for two thousand gold 
crowns, seeing he has his salary besides." After- 
wards I led him up to other works in silver and gold, 
and a good many models for new things I had in 
mind to do. Then just before he left, in my castle 
meadows I showed him the great giant, which struck 
him as more wonderful than anything else. Turn- 
ing to his Admiral, who was called Monseigneur 
d*Annebault, he said, " Since the Cardinal has given 
him nothing, we must needs provide for him, as he 
himself is slow at asking. So, in a word, I wish pro- 
vision to be made for him ; for men who arc wont 
to ask for nothing, think that their works speak out 
their demands. Therefore give him the first vacant 
abbey worth two thousand crowns a year ; and if one 
does not amount to that, then let him have two, or 
three, for it will not matter to him." I was present 
and heard everything ; and I thanked him on the 
spot, as if the property were already mine. Then I 
told him that, when this provision should be made 
for me, my only desire was to labour for his Majesty, 
without other reward, or salary, or payment, till by 
force of old age I could no longer work. Then I 
should rest my tired body, and live in peace and 
honour on that provision, never forgetting I had 
served so great a King as his Majestv. At these 



words the King turned towards me, and with a smile 
upon his face, said in a hearty voice, "So be it." 
Then he went off in great good humour. 

xl. When Madame d'Etampes heard how well I 
was getting on, she grew still more bitter against me, 
saying to herself, " To-day I rule the world ; yet a 
little man like that does not care a rap for me ! " 
And she used every means she could think of to hurt 
me. Now she happened upon a certain man, a 
great distiller, who prepared scented waters for her, 
which were of marvellous power against wrinkles, 
and never before used in France. She sent him to 
show some of his distillations to the King, who was 
much delighted with them. Seeing he had given 
his Majesty pleasure, the fellow asked him to give 
him a tennis-court belonging to my palace, as well 
as a small suite of apartments, which he said I did not 
use. The good King, who could see to the bottom 
of the affair, returned no answer at all ; but Madame 
d'Etampes used every kind of cajolery which ladies 
employ to conquer men, and she had no great diffi- 
culty in getting her own way. It needed only that 
she should find him once in an amorous temper — to 
which he was much inclined — and he gave in to 
Madame in everything. Well, the man came to my 
castle in the company of the treasurer Grolier, a 
great French noble. Grolier talked Italian excel- 
lently ; so on this occasion he spoke to me in my 
own tongue in a jesting fashion. But after these 
preliminaries, just at the right moment, he said, " In 
the King's name I put this man in possession of the 
tennis-court, together with the apartments which go 
with it." To this I answered, " Everything belongs 
to the Sacred King, and therefore you might have 
entered here more freely. Your coming with 
notaries and people of the Court has an air of 
trickery, and not at all of a straightforward com- 
mission from so great a King. Now I swear to 


you that, before I carry my complaints to his 
Majesty, I shall defend myself after the manner he 
advised me the other day ; and for this man whom 
you have thrust upon me, I shall throw him out of 
the window, unless I see an express order in the 
King's own hand." At these words of mine the 
treasurer went ofF, threatening and muttering, and I 
stayed where I was doing the like. But I took no 
active measures then. Afterwards I went off to 
seek the notaries who had put the man in possession. 
They were well known to me ; and told me that the 
due formahties had certainly been gone through 
with the King's authority, but that these were of no 
great importance ; and that if I had made some little 
resistance, he would not have entered into possession 
as he had done, for these legal forms were acts and 
customs of the Court, which had nothing to do with 
obedience to the King ; so that if I could manage to 
get rid of him as speedily as he had come in, I 
should be doing well, and not a word would be said 
against it. 

All I needed was a hint like this ; and next day I 
began to take violent measures, and though it was 
no easy matter, it gave me keen pleasure. Every day 
I attacked the invader with stones and pikes and 
arquebuses ; and though I fired without balls, I struck 
such terror into the onlookers that not a man would 
go to his help. Then one day, finding his answer 
to my attack grown rather feeble, I entered the 
place by force and turned him out, throwing after 
him every stick of furniture he had brought with 
him. After that I set off to the King, and told him 
I had done exactly what he had ordered me to do : 
that is, I had defended myself against those who 
would hinder me in his service. His Majesty laughed 
heartily over the affair, and sent me new letters to 
guarantee me against molestation in the future. 

xli. Meanwhile I was making haste to finish the fine 



silver Jupiter, as also the gilded base for it. This latter I 
had placed on a wooden plinth, which was hardly seen, 
fixing in the plinth four castors of hard wood, half hidden 
in their sockets, like the nut of a crossbow. They were 
so delicately contrived that a little child could turn 
the statue round, or move it to and fro, without the 
least fatigue. Having arranged everything as I 
wished, I set off with it for Fontainebleau, where the 
King then was. Now about this time Bologna 
had brought back from Rome the statues I have 
spoken of, and had them cast in bronze with the 
greatest care. I knew nothing about it ; first, 
because he had had the business done very secretly, 
and also because Fontainebleau is forty miles from 
Paris. When I asked the King where he wished 
me to place the Jupiter, Madame d*Etampes, who 
was present, said to him that there was no more 
suitable place for it than his fine gallery. This was 
what we should call a loggia in Tuscany — nay, more 
correctly, a corridor, for loggias should be open at 
one side. The place was more than a hundred paces 
long, and about twelve wide, and richly adorned with 
paintings by the hand of the admirable Rosso, our 
Florentine. Among the pictures were arranged a 
great many pieces of sculpture, some in the round, 
others in low rehef. Now it was in this gallery 
also that Bologna had placed all his antique master- 
pieces, excellently cast in bronze ; and he had 
arranged them beautifully, each one mounted on its 
pedestal ; and, as I have already said, they were copied 
from the finest antiques in Rome. So when I 
brought my Jupiter into this same gallery, and saw 
the grand display, all arranged with such art, I said 
to myself, " This is being under a very hot fire. 
Now God be my aid ! " So I set up my statue, 
placing it to the very best advantage possible ; and 
then I waited till the great King came in. In his 
right hand my Jupiter grasped his thunderbolt, as if 



about to hurl it ; in his left he held the world. 
Among the flames of the bolt I had skilfully inserted 
a white waxen torch. Now Madame d'Etampes 
kept the King away till night came on, seeking to 
harm me, either by preventing him from coming at 
all, or at least till darkness should hinder my work 
being seen to advantage. But God protects those 
who have faith in Him ; and so just the contrary 
happened. For as soon as I saw night falling, I lit 
the torch in the hand of the Jupiter, and as it was 
somewhat raised above the head of the statue, the 
light fell from above and made it seem much more 
beautiful than it had appeared by daylight. 

Well, the King appeared at last, with Madame 
d'Etampes, the Dauphin, his son (now the King), 
the Dauphiness, his brother-in-law, the King of 
Navarre, and Madame Marguerite, his daughter, 
besides several lords of the Court, who had been 
schooled by Madame d'Etampes to speak against me. 
When I saw his Majesty come in, I made my lad 
Ascanio push the statue gently forward ; and as my 
contrivance was arranged with some skill, this move- 
ment gave to the striking figure an additional appear- 
ance of life. The antiques were now left standing 
somewhat behind ; and mine was the first to catch 
the eyes of the spectators. The King exclaimed on 
the instant, "This is by far the finest thing which 
has ever been seen ; and much as I delight in works 
of art and understand them, I could never have 
imagined the hundredth part of the wonder of this 
one." Even the lords, whose part it was to speak 
against me, seemed as if they could not praise my 
work enough. But Madame d'Etampes said boldly, 
" Surely you have no eyes I Do you not see the fine 
bronze antiques over there ? In them is displayed 
the real power of the sculptor's art ; not in this 
modern rubbish." Then the King came forward — 
the others following him — and glanced at the casts ; 
M* 349 


but as the light was below them, they did not show 
up well, and he cried, "Whoever wished to harm 
this man has done him a great benefit ; for this 
statue of his is now proved to surpass these wonderful 
figures with which it is compared. So Benvenuto 
cannot be made too much of; for not only do his 
works hold their own with the antiques, but they 
surpass them." Thereupon Madame d'Etampes said, 
if they were to see the work by day, it would not 
seem a thousandth part as fine as now it did by night ; 
besides, they had to consider that I had put a veil 
over the figure to cover up its faults. Now this was 
a very thin veil, which I had gracefully hung over 
the Jupiter, to enhance its majesty. At her words I 
removed it, Hfting it from below, and disclosing the 
fine genital members. Then, giving vent to my 
anger, I tore it to pieces. She thought I had 
uncovered these parts to shame her ; but the wise 
King, seeing her anger, and perceiving, too, that I 
was overcome by passion, and was about to speak my 
mind, said, uttering the words deliberately in his own 
tongue, " Benvenuto, not a word. Keep silence, and 
you shall have a thousandfold more money than you 
can wish for." When I might not speak, I writhed 
in my rage, which made her mutter even more angrily ; 
and the King went off much sooner than he would 
have done, saying aloud, to put heart into me, that he 
had brought out of Italy the greatest man that ever 
was born — one full of talents. 

xlii. I left the Jupiter where it was, meaning to 
set ofF in the morning. Before my departure I was 
paid a thousand gold crowns, part being my salary, 
and the rest to make up for what I had spent out of 
my own purse. With this money in my pocket, I 
returned to Paris in good spirits ; and as soon as I 
reached home I made merry in my own house. 
After dinner I had all my clothes brought me. 
Among them were garments of silk, the costliest 


furs, and the finest cloth. I made presents from 
among these to all my workmen, giving to each 
according to his merit, down to the maids and stable- 
boys, thus putting heart into them to help me with a 
good will. 

Then being refreshed, with eagerness I set about 
finishing the great statue of Mars. First, I had a 
wooden frame made j on the top of that was spread a 
crust of gesso an eighth of a cubit thick, carefully 
modelled to represent the flesh. Then I worked on 
the several portions of the figure, which were to be 
dovetailed in afterwards, as the rules of the art 
demand. All this I did with the greatest ease. 

I must not forget to give some indication of how 
large the figure was, which I can best do by telling 
you a very laughable occurrence. Now I had for- 
bidden all my workmen to bring into my house, or 
into the precincts of the castle, any loose women ; and 
I took good care that nothing of the kind was done. 
But my young Ascanio was in love with a very 
beautiful girl, and she was in love with him. So one 
night she ran away from her mother and came to see 
Ascanio. But she did not want to go away again ; 
and he did not know where to hide her, till he 
bethought himself — being a person of resource — of 
putting her inside the figure of Mars. So in the 
head he arranged a corner for her to sleep ; and 
there, indeed, she remained a long time ; and some- 
times by night he would bring her out noiselessly. 
Now the head was very nearly finished ; and, out of 
sheer vanity, I used to leave it uncovered, so that it 
could be seen over the greater part of the city of 
Paris. The neighbours therefore began to climb on 
the roofs ; and many persons came on purpose to see 
it. Now a story ran about that a ghost had for long 
haunted my castle, though I never saw anything to 
make me believe there was any truth in it. This 
ghost was called by all the people of Paris Le Maine 



Bourreau. Now while the girl was living in the 
head, sometimes she could not prevent her move- 
ments being seen through the eyes. So some of the 
foolish people used to say that the ghost had entered 
into the body of the huge statue, causing the eyes 
and mouth and head to move, as if it were going to 
speak J and many of them flew away in terror ; 
while even some shrewder folk who had come to 
investigate, could not deny the flashing of the eyes ; 
and they, too, declared there was a spirit in it — never 
dreaming that there was not only a spirit, but good 
flesh and blood as well. 

xliii. In the meanwhile I was hard at work putting 
together my fine door, with all the ornaments be- 
longing to it. Now as I have no mind to write 
down in this story of my life things that rather con- 
cern writers of chronicles, I have left untold the 
coming of the Emperor with his great army, and the 
King's marshalling all his forces. While this was 
going on, his Majesty sought my advice about the 
speediest way of fortifying Paris. He came to my 
house on purpose, and took me all round the city j 
and when he understood that I had a good plan in 
my head for the immediate execution of the work, he 
ordered me to carry it out at once ; and told his 
Admiral to give orders to the people to obey me 
under pain of his displeasure. But the Admiral, who 
had got his appointment through the favour of 
Madame d'Etampes, and not for any service he had 
rendered, was a man of httle ability. His name was 
Monsieur d'Annebault, which in our tongue means 
Monsignor Anniballe ; but in theirs it sounds like 
Asino Bue, and so do they mostly call him. Well, 
this fool talked the matter over with Madame 
d'Etampes, who ordered him to send at once for 
Girolamo Bellarmato, a Sienese engineer, then at 
Dieppe, little more than a day's journey from Paris. 
He came at once, and began on the work of fortifica- 


tion by the very slowest method ; so I retired from 
the business. And if the Emperor had pushed on, he 
could have taken Paris with the greatest case. Indeed, 
it was said that in the treaty, which was signed later, 
Madame d'Etampes, who had more hand in it than 
any one else, betrayed the King. I need say no 
more on this matter, which does not fall within my 

Well, I set to work with all my might to put my 
bronze door together, and to finish the large vase, as 
well as two others of medium size made out of my 
own silver. After his troubles the good King came 
to seek some repose in Paris. As that cursed woman 
was born to be the ruin of the world, I must have 
been of some consequence for her to have held me as 
her chief enemy. Now one day, talking with his 
Majesty about my affairs, she said such harm of me 
that the good man, to please her, swore thenceforward 
to pay me no more attention than if he had never 
seen me. These words were reported to me at once 
by a page of the Cardinal of Ferrara, called il Villa, 
who told me he had heard them from the King's own 
mouth. This put me in such a rage that I threw all 
my tools about and everything I was working at, and 
made up my mind to be off for good. I went at once 
to see the King. After dinner I was shown into a 
room where his Majesty was seated with two or 
three others. On my entrance I made him due 
reverence j and he responded with a smile upon his 
face. So I took hope and slowly approached — for 
some things belonging to our art were being examined. 
When they had talked for a little while about them, 
the King asked me if I had anything fine to show 
him at my house, and when I should like him to come 
and see ; whereupon I said that I was prepared to 
show him something on the instant, if he wished. 
He then bade me go home, and he would follow 



xliv. So I went off to wait for the good King, 
who had gone to take leave of Madame d'Etampes. 
She wanted to know where he was going, and said 
she would bear him company ; but when he told 
her, she declared she would not go, and begged him 
as a favour not to go either that day. But it was 
not till she had pleaded over and over again that she 
managed to turn the King from his purpose. So 
that day he did not come to me. Next day I went 
to him again at the same hour j and as soon as he set 
eyes on me he swore he would come to me without 
delay. But as usual he went to get leave of 
Madame d'Etampes, who saw that all her persuasion 
had not been enough to draw him from his intention. 
So she let loose her biting tongue to speak as much 
harm of me as if I had been a mortal enemy of the 
crown. The good King replied that he wanted to 
pay me a visit, only that he might reprove me and 
make me tremble before him ; and he gave his word 
to Madame d'Etampes that so he meant to do. 

When he came to my house, I led him to certain 
large apartments on the ground floor, in which I had 
put together the whole of my large door. When he 
came upon it, the King was wonderstruck ; so that he 
could not find utterance for the abuse he had promised 
Madame d'Etampes he would hurl at me. Still he 
did not want to fail altogether to find an opportunity 
of reproving me according to his promise. So he 
began thus : " There is a most important thing, 
Benvenuto, that men like you, full of talent though 
you are, should ever keep in mind. It is this : that 
with all your great abilities you can do nothing by 
yourselves. You can only show your greatness 
through the opportunities we put in your way. I 
counsel you, therefore, to appear more docile — less 
proud, less headstrong. I remember that I expressly 
ordered you to make me twelve silver statues ; and I 
did not ask for anything else. You have undertaken 



to make a salt-cellar, and vases, and heads, and doors, 
and ever so many other things ; so that I am quite 
overwhelmed, seeing all my particular wishes set 
aside, while you are bent on carrying out your own. 
So if you think you can go on like this, I'll soon let 
you see what I am wont to do, when I wish things 
done in my own way. Therefore I say to you : take 
care to obey the orders given you ; for if you are 
obstinate in pursuing your own fancies, you'll be 
running your head against a wall." While he was 
saying these words, all his lords stood looking on 
intently ; and when they saw him shake his head, 
and knit his brows, and gesticulate with both hands, 
they trembled for me. But I was resolved to be in 
no wise afraid. 

xlv. This scolding he administered to me in 
accordance with his promise to his dear Madame 
d'Etampes; and when he brought it to an end, I knelt 
down and kissed his tunic above the knee, saying, 
" Sacred Majesty, I own all you say to be true ; and 
can only say in reply that day and night my heart 
and all the forces of my soul have been ever intent 
on obeying and serving you ; and if anything in my 
conduct seems to give the lie to what 1 say, I pray 
you believe that the blame lies not in Benvenuto, 
but that my unlucky star — or my evil fortune — has 
made me unworthy to serve the most magnificent 
prince the earth has ever seen. Therefore, I pray 
you, pardon me. One thing only I would urge. I 
thought your Majesty gave me silver for one statue 
only. Having no more by me, I could make no 
other. So with the little which was over I made 
that vase, to give your Majesty some idea of the 
fine antique style, of which perhaps you have never 
seen a specimen before. As for the salt-cellar, if I 
remember rightly, your Majesty, of your own accord, 
ordered it one day. You were discussing the merits 
of one which had been brought for your inspection. 



So I showed you a model which I had made in Italy ; 
and then it was your own idea to give me at once a 
thousand gold ducats that I might carry out the 
work. You said, too, that you were grateful to me 
for the suggestion ; but more particularly I recollect 
that you thanked me heartily when it was finished. 
As for the door, I am under the impression that 
once, when we chanced to be talking together, your 
Majesty gave an order to de Villeroy, your chief 
secretary, who passed it on to de Marmagne and 
Monsieur de la Fa. They were to see I did the 
work, and to make provision for it. Without such 
an order I should never on my own account have 
been able to take so great an enterprise in hand. 
Now for the bronze heads, the pedestal for the 
Jupiter, and the other things. Well, the heads I 
did on my own account, in order to test the French 
clays, which, as a foreigner, I did not know at all. 
Without experimenting with them I could not have 
taken in hand to cast those large works. The 
pedestals I made, because I thought that they were 
admirably suitable for the figures. So all I have 
done, I have done for the best, never dreaming I was 
deviating from your Majesty's command. True, I 
have made this great Colossus — so far as it has gone 
— on my own account, paying for it out of my own 
purse. But I thought that you being so great a 
king, and I but a poor artist, it became me to execute, 
for your glory and mine, a statue such as the ancients 
never possessed. Now knowing that it is not God's 
will to make me worthy of so honourable a service, 
I beg you, in lieu of the great reward which your 
Majesty had destined for my works, to grant me but 
a little good-will, Hkewise, leave to take my departure. 
If this grace be given me, I will depart on the 
instant and return to Italy, ever grateful to God and 
your Majesty for those delightful hours spent in 
your service." 


xlvi. He took me by the two hands, and raised me 
from my knees in the kindest manner possible. 
Then he told me that I should make up my mind 
to remain in his service ; and all that I had done was 
good and altogether pleasing to him. And, turning 
to his lords, he said with great deliberation, "Verily 
I believe that Paradise could have no lovelier gate 
than this ! " His bold words were all in compliment 
to me ; but when he ceased speaking, I thanked him 
again with the utmost reverence, yet repeated my 
demand that he should let me go ; for my anger had 
not all passed out of me. When the great King saw 
1 hardly estimated at its full value his unwonted and 
remarkable courtesy, he commanded me in a loud 
and terrible voice to say not a word more ; else I 
should repent it. Then he added that he would 
smother me in gold ; that he gave me the leave I 
desired ; and that after I had completed the works he 
had ordered from me, he would be perfectly satisfied 
to let me undertake anything on my own account. 
Never again should I have any difference with him, 
he declared, for now he knew me. On my part, I 
must strive to understand him ; for such was my 
duty. I replied that I gave thanks to God and his 
Majesty for all ; and then I begged him to come and 
see how I had got on with the great Colossus. So 
he came to my house. When I uncovered it, he 
was more wonderstruck than I can tell, and on the 
spot he ordered his secretary to pay me back all the 
money I had spent on it ; whatever the sum might 
be, it was enough if I wrote it down in my own 
hand. Then he went away, saying, adieu^ mon ami^ 
2l great and unwonted honour from the lips of a 

xlvii. After his return to his palace, he began 
thinking over the words I had used in speaking to 
him, which had been now extremely meek, and now 
so haughtily proud that they had greatly angered him. 



Some details of the conversation he related in the 
presence of Madame d'Etampes and Monseigneur de 
Saint Paul, a great French baron, who till now had 
always pretended to be a good friend of mine. Of a 
truth, this day he showed his friendship very cleverly, 
in the French fashion. For, after a deal of talk, the 
King complained that the Cardinal of Ferrara, to 
whose protection he had recommended me, had never 
given another thought to my affairs, and it was not 
his fault that I had not quitted France altogether. 
He must really think of giving me in charge to some 
one who took more interest in me j for he did not 
wish to run further risk of losing my services. At 
these words Monsieur de Saint Paul offered himself 
as my protector, promising he would take such steps 
as should prevent me ever leaving the kingdom. 
The King replied that he would be very pleased, if 
Saint Paul would tell him the means he meant to 
take against my escape. Madame, who was present, 
sat there frowning ; and Saint Paul stiffly refused to 
tell the King what he meant. His Majesty repeated 
the question ; whereupon Saint Paul, just to please 
Madame d*Etampes, said, " I would hang that Benven- 
uto of yours by the neck ; and so you should always keep 
him in your kingdom." At this Madame d'Etampes 
burst out laughing, and declared I well deserved it. 
So the King laughed, too, for company's sake, and 
said he'd be quite satisfied for Saint Paul to hang me, 
if first he found him my equal ; and that, though I 
never deserved hanging, he gave him full leave to 
try. Thus did the day end ; and I remained safe 
and sound, for which all praise and thanks be to God ! 
xlviii. By this time the King had made peace with 
the Emperor ; but he was still fighting with the 
English ; and those devils were giving us a great 
deal of worry. So his Majesty had other things 
than pleasures in his head. He had ordered Piero 
Strozzi to lead certain galleys into the EngHsh seas. 



Now this was a very great and difficult undertaking, 
even for that marvellous soldier, unique in his time 
and his profession, and as unfortunate as he was 
distinguished. Thus several months went by with- 
out my receiving any money or any order for work, 
so that I sent away all my workmen save the two 
Italians, whom I employed upon the great vases made 
out of my own silver — for they did not know how to 
work in bronze. As soon as they were finished, I 
went off with them to a town belonging to the 
Oueen of Navarre, called Argentan, a few days' 
journey from Paris. When I reached there, I found 
that the King was ill. The Cardinal of Ferrara told 
him I had come; but he said nothing in reply ; so that 
I had to remain there for days, not knowing what 
to do with myself. To tell the truth, I never was 
more disgusted. But after some little time I presented 
myself one evening to the King, and placed before him 
the two fine vases, which pleased him vastly. When 
I saw him thus amiably disposed to me, I begged 
his Majesty to be good enough to give me per- 
mission to make a journey into Italy, saying that I 
would leave the seven months' salary due to me, and 
his Majesty might deign to pay this up, should I 
need it for my return. I begged him earnestly to 
grant me this fevour, saying it was a time for fighting, 
not for making statues. Besides, he had been 
pleased to give such permission to his painter Bologna ; 
and so I entreated him to grant a like favour to me. 
While I was speaking, the King looked intently at 
the two vases, but every now and then he stabbed 
me with his terrible eye. Nevertheless, as per- 
suasively as I could, I kept on begging this grace, 
till all at once I saw him get angry. Then he rose 
from his chair, and, speaking to me in Italian, he 
said, " Benvenuto, you are a big fool. Take vour 
vases back to Paris, for I wish them gilded." And 
with never another word he left me. 


Going up to the Cardinal of Ferrara, who was 
present, I begged him, since he had done me so 
great a service in freeing me from the Roman 
prison, and had helped me in many ways besides, to 
do one more thing for me — get me leave to go back 
to Italy. The Cardinal replied that he would 
willingly do all he could to oblige me, and that I 
might leave the matter in his hands. Indeed, if I 
wished, I might set off now, and he would explain 
matters satisfactorily to the King. I answered that 
I knew his Majesty had given me in charge to 
him ; and if his reverend lordship gave me leave, I 
should depart with an easy mind, and come back at 
the slightest sign from him. Then he told me to 
return to Paris, and stay there for eight days ; by that 
time he should have obtained leave from the King 
for me to be off. Should his Majesty be unwilling, 
he would not fail to warn me. It was agreed that 
if he did not write me to the contrary, it would be a 
sign that I was free to depart. 

xlix. So to Paris I went, as the Cardinal had told 
me. There I made some serviceable cases for the 
three silver vases. When twenty days had passed, I 
made my preparations, packing my vases on a mule 
lent me as far as Lyons by the Bishop of Pavia, 
whom I was again lodging in my castle. 

So in an unlucky hour I set off, together with 
Signor Ippolito Gonzaga, who was in the King's 
pay and in the service of Count Galeotto della 
Mirandola. Several other gentlemen belonging to 
the Court were also with us, as well as Lionardo 
Tedaldi, our own countryman. I left Ascanio and 
Pagolo behind in charge of my castle and all my 
property, among which were several little vases 
already begun. These I left so that the two young 
men might have something to work at. There was 
a great deal of valuable furniture besides ; for I had 
lived there in great state. In all, my property was 


worth more than fifteen hundred crowns. I bade 
Ascanio remember all the benefits he had received 
from me. Up till now he had been a heedless hoy ; 
but the time had come for him to think like a man. 
Therefore I was to leave all my property in his 
charge, and my honour too ; and if those beasts of 
Frenchmen proved themselves vexatious in any way 
whatsoever, he was to let me know at once, and I 
should come post-haste from wherever I might be, 
both to fulfil the great obligation I was under to the 
good King, and also to preserve my own honour. 
Then Ascanio feigned to weep — rascal that he 
was ! — and said, " You have been the best of fathers 
to me ; and everything which becomes a good son to 
do for his dear father I will always do for you." So 
it was agreed ; and I set ofF, attended by a servant 
and a little French boy. 

Just after mid-day there came to my castle certain 
of the royal treasurers, who were not exactly friends 
of mine. Those mean scoundrels declared I had 
gone off with his Majesty's silver ; and ordered 
Messer Guido and the Bishop of Pavia to send after 
me at once and seize the King's vases. If not, they 
would send a messenger themselves ; and it would be 
the worse for me. The Bishop and Messer Guido 
were much more frightened than they need have 
been, and they sent that traitor Ascanio post-haste 
after me. He turned up about midnight. Now I 
was not sleeping, but was lying lamenting my fate. 
"To whom am I leaving my property and my 
castle ? " I was saying. "Oh, what a cruel destiny 
is mine, which forces me to take this journey ! 
Pray God that the Cardinal be not leagued with 
Madame d'Etampes, who desires nothing so much in 
the world as that I should lose the favour of the good 

1. While this strife was going on within me, I 
heard Ascanio call me, and in a moment I was out 


of bed and asking him if he brought me good or bad 
news. " Good news," answered the rascal. " Only, 
you must send back the three vases ; for those 
rascally treasurers are shouting ' Stop thief ! ' and 
the Bishop and Messer Guido say you must certainly 
restore them. Otherwise do not worry yourself; 
but set off cheerfully on your journey." I gave up 
the vases at once, though two of them were my own, 
even to the silver of which they were made and every- 
thing about them. I was taking them to the Abbey 
of the Cardinal of Ferrara at Lyons. For though 
they declared I was carrying them off into Italy, 
everybody knows perfectly that one can't take money, 
or gold, or silver out of the country without special 
leave. I would have you think then if I could get 
out of France with those three great vases, which, in 
their cases, made up the whole load of a mule. It is 
quite true that, as these things were very beautiful 
and of great value, I feared for the death of the King — 
for I had certainly left him very much indisposed — 
and had said to myself, "Should such a thing take 
place, if I put them into the hands of the Cardinal, I 
shall not then lose them ! " So now to be brief ; I sent 
back the mule with the vases and other things of 
importance, and next morning I set forward with 
my companions ; but the whole way I could not 
keep from sighing and weeping. Yet at times I 
found comfort in God, saying, " Lord God, Thou to 
whom all truth is known, knowest that this journey 
of mine is only undertaken to bring succour to six 
poor wretched maidens and their mother, who is my 
sister after the flesh. Though they still have their 
father, he is very old, and makes nothing at his 
trade, so that they might easily go to ruin. There- 
fore in this pious work I hope for aid and counsel 
from Thy Majesty." No other comfort had I save 
this as I went upon my road. 

When we were a day's journey from Lyons, 



about twenty -two o'clock, the thunder began to 
rattle in the sky, though the air was clear as possible. 
I was a bow-shot in front of my companions. After 
the thunder, so great and terrible a noise was heard in 
the heavens, that, for me, I thought the Day of 
Judgment was at hand. I stopped for a time, and 
hail began to fall without a drop of rain, larger than 
chalk-balls from an air-gun. When they fell on me 
they hurt me greatly. Gradually they became bigger, 
till they were like balls from a crossbow. My horse 
was terrified ; so I turned him about and galloped as 
furiously as I could till I found my companions, who 
had withdrawn into a pine wood in their fright. The 
hailstones were now as big as lemons. I began to 
sing a Miserere j and while I was thus speaking 
devoutly to God, there fell one of such a size that it 
snapped a huge branch of the pine-tree under which 
I had thought myself safe. Another fell on my 
horse's head, and almost knocked it down. Then 
one hit me, but not directly, else I should have been 
a dead man. At the same time poor old Lionardo 
Tedaldi, who was kneeling like me, was struck so 
hard that he fell on all fours. Then I saw that the 
branch was no longer a shelter ; and that one must do 
something besides singing Misereres. So I began to 
wrap my garments around my head ; and I told 
Lionardi, who was crying "Jesus ! Jesus !" at the 
top of his voice, that Jesus would help him if he 
helped himself. It was more trouble to save him 
than to save myself. The fury of the storm lasted 
for a considerable while ; but it stopped at last ; and, 
all bruised as we were, we got upon our horses as best 
we could. While we were riding towards a lodging, 
we showed each other our scars and our bruises. But 
when we had gone a mile, we found the marks or 
much greater damage than we had suffered ; indeed 
our eyes were met by a scene of ruin which is im- 
possible to describe. All the trees were stripped and 



broken ; the beasts that had been out in the storm 
were killed, and many shepherds too. And we saw 
hailstones so big that you could not have spanned one 
with your two hands. We thought we had come ofF 
well ; and owned then that calling on God and 
repeating the Misereres had served us better than if 
we had only tried to save ourselves by our own 
strength. So, with thanks to God, we set off for 
Lyons, reaching it next day ; and there we put up 
for a time. At the end of eight days, when we were 
well rested, we set off once more on our journey, and 
with great ease we crossed the mountains. On the 
other side I bought a little pony ; for the luggage I 
carried had rather overstrained my horse. 

li. We had been one day in Italy when we were 
joined by the Count Galeotto della Mirandola, who 
was going on by post, and who put up at our inn. 
He told me that I had made a mistake in leaving, 
and that I should go no farther ; for, were I to 
return, my affairs would go better than ever ; but if 
I continued my journey, I was leaving the field to 
my enemies, and giving them full chance to work 
me harm. Whereas, he said, going back at once, I 
should put a spoke in their wheel, and hinder their 
further plots against me. Those, he went on, whom 
I trusted most were those who were playing me false. 
He would say no more, save that this he knew for 
a certainty, and that the Cardinal was in league 
with those two rascals of mine whom I had left in 
charge of all my property. And so he went on and 
on, repeating that I should certainly return. Then, 
mounting on the post, he set out on his way ; and I, 
acting on the advice of my companions, made up my 
mind to go forward also. But strife was raging in 
my heart. Now I was fain to make for Florence 
with all speed, and now to go back to France. This 
irresolution fevered me so that I forced myself to a 
decision, which was to mount on the post and arrive 


as quickly as possible at Florence. My plan of 
travelling by the first post fell through ; nevertheless 
I was still determined to press on and meet my 
troubles in Florence. So I parted from Signor 
Ippolito Gonzaga, who took the road for Mirandola, 
while I turned ofF towards Parma and Piacenza. 

When I reached Piacenza, I met Duke Pier 
Luigi in the street, who stared me up and down, 
and recognised me. He had been the sole cause of 
all the wrong I had suffered in the castle of St. 
Angelo ; and now I fumed at the sight of him. But 
not knowing any way of avoiding him, I made up 
my mind to go and pay him a visit. 1 arrived at 
the palace just as the table was being cleared. With 
him were some men of the house of Landi, those 
who were afterwards his murderers. When I came 
in, he received me with the utmost effusiveness ; and 
among other pleasant things which fell from his lips 
was his declaration to those who were present, that I 
was the greatest man in all the world in my profession, 
and that I had been a long time in prison in Rome. 
Then, turning to me, he said, " Benvenuto, my 
friend, I was much distressed at what you suffered, 
and I knew that you were innocent, but I could do 
nothing to help you in any way. For my father did 
it to satisfy certain enemies of yours, who, besides, 
gave him to understand that you had spoken ill of 
him — though I know for a certainty that there was 
not a word of truth in it. I was indeed very sorry 
for you." And so he went on, repeating things like 
these, till it looked as if he were begging my pardon. 
Afterwards he asked me about all the work I had 
done for the most Christian King ; and while I was 
telling him, he Hstened attentively, giving me the 
most gracious audience possible. Then he asked mc 
if I would Hke to serve him, to which I answered 
that I could not honourably undertake to do so ; but 
that if I had completed the important works I had 


begun for the great King, I would leave any other 
prince, whosoever he might be, to serve his Ex- 
cellency. Now here may be seen how the great 
God of Power never leaves unpunished those who 
work injustice on the innocent. For this man in 
some sense begged my pardon, in the presence of 
those who afterwards wreaked their vengeance on 
him, on my account, and on account of many another 
maltreated by him. And thus no one, be he ever 
so great a lord, should mock at God's justice — as do 
some whom I know, who have done me brutal wrong 
too, as I shall tell all in good time. And I write 
these things not out of vain conceit, but solely in 
gratitude to God, who has saved me from so many 
dangers. Likewise, in those perils which menace 
me every day, I tell all my grief to Him, and call 
on Him, and entreat Him to be my defender. And 
it ever happens — after I have helped myself as best I 
can, and yet my spirit is weak, and my feeble forces 
do not come up to my aid — that suddenly the great 
power of God is made visible, and, all unforeseen, 
descends on the wrongdoers, and on such as give little 
heed to the great and honourable duties which God 
has laid upon them. 

lii. When I returned to my inn, I found the Duke 
had sent me an abundant provision of food and drink 
of exquisite quality, and I ate with a good appetite. 
Then, mounting my horse, I turned my face towards 
Florence. When I reached there, I found my sister 
with her six young daughters. One of them was of 
marriageable age, and one was still at nurse. My 
brother-in-law, in consequence of various unfortunate 
happenings in the city, worked no longer at his trade. 
More than a year before I had sent stones and French 
jewelry to the value of more than two thousand 
ducats ; and what I brought with me was worth 
about a thousand crowns. I found that, though I 
had given them regularly four gold crowns a month, 



yet they always drew on the money which came from 
the sale of the jewelry. My brother-in-law was 
such an honest man that when the allowance I sent 
was not enough, for fear of vexing me, he chose to 
pawn nearly all he had in the world, and to let him- 
self be eaten up by usurers, in his endeavour to leave 
untouched the money which was not meant for 
him. By this I knew he was a very honest man ; 
so I was desirous to make him a better allowance, 
and, before leaving Florence, to provide for all his 

liii. It was now the month of August 1545 ; and 
our Duke was living at Poggio a Cajano, about ten 
miles from Florence. So there I went to see him, 
merely in the course of my duty — since I, too, was 
a Florentine citizen ; since my ancestors were very 
friendly with the house of Medici, and I as much as 
any man loved Duke Cosimo. So, as I say, I went 
to Poggio only to pay my respects, and with not 
the least intention of stopping with him — as it 
pleased God, who doeth all things well, that I 
should do. When I came into the Duke's presence, 
he received me with great kindness ; and then he 
and the Duchess asked me all about the work I had 
been doing for the King. With the greatest good- 
will I explained everything bit by bit. He listened, 
and then replied he had heard it was indeed so, 
adding, with a gesture of compassion, " A poor 
reward for all your great labours ! Benvenuto, my 
friend, if you were to undertake work for me I 
should pay you very differently to that King of 
yours, of whom, out of your good-nature, you speak 
so well." To this I replied by explaining the great 
obligations I was under to his Majesty, who had 
first freed me from an unjust prison, and then given 
me such a chance of making wonderful masterpieces 
as had never fallen to the lot of any of my artist 
peers. While I was speaking thus, the Duke writhed 


with impatience, and looked as if he could hardly 
stay to hear me out. When I had finished, he said, 
"If you will work for me, I will give you such 
rewards as may perhaps astonish you — provided the 
result pleases me, and of that I have no doubt at all." 
And so, poor unlucky wight ! wishing to prove to 
the masters of our wonderful school, that since I 
left Florence I had been striving for success in other 
departments of art besides those which they deemed 
mine, I answered that I would willingly make a 
great statue in marble or in bronze for his fine 
piazza. To this he replied that, to begin v/ith, he 
would like from me a Perseus. This had been long 
in his mind ; and he begged me to make a model of 
it for him. So I set to the task with great good- 
will, and in a few weeks I had finished it. It was 
made of yellow wax, about a cubit in height, and 
very delicately wrought ; for I had given all my best 
skill and knowledge to the making of it. The Duke 
returned to Florence ; but several days went by 
before I could show him the model. Indeed, from 
his indifference you might have judged he had 
never seen or heard of me j and this boded ill, I 
thought, for my dealings with his Excellency. 
However, one day after dinner I took my model to 
the Wardrobe ; and he came to see it along with 
the Duchess and some lords of his court. As soon 
as he set eyes on it, he was so pleased, and praised it 
so extravagantly that I had good hope of having 
found in him a patron of some discrimination. He 
examined it for a long time with ever-growing 
dehght, and then he said, "Benvenuto, my friend, 
if you were to carry out this little rtiodel on a large 
scale, it would be the finest thing in the Piazza." 
Thereupon I repHed, "My most excellent lord, in 
the Piazza are works by the great Donatello and 
the marvellous Michael Angelo, the two greatest 
men since the ancients. Nevertheless, as your most 



illustrious Excellency is so encouraging to my model, 
I feel within me the power to do the complete work 
three times as well." These words of mine stirred 
up a deal of argument ; for the Duke kept saying 
that he understood such things perfectly, and knew 
just what could be done. I replied that my work 
would decide this dispute and his doubt, though 
most certainly I should achieve more for his 
Excellency than I had promised him. Then I 
asked him to give me the means of carrying out 
the undertaking, as otherwise I could do nothing. 
The Duke replied that I should draw up a formal 
demand, stating precisely my wants, and he would 
order these to be amply provided for. Now of a 
truth, if I had been shrewd enough to obtain by 
contract all I needed for my work, I should have 
escaped the great annoyances which, by my own 
fault, I afterwards experienced. For he seemed most 
determined to have the work done, and to make the 
necessary preparations for it. But I, who did not 
know that his lordship was more of a merchant than 
a duke, treated with him most liberally, as duke 
rather than merchant. I drew up the petition, and 
it seemed to me that his Excellency most generously 
responded. In it I said, " Rarest of patrons, the 
real petition I make and the true contract between 
us do not consist in these words and writings. The 
essential is, that I succeed according to the word 
I have given. And when I have succeeded, I am as 
sure that your most illustrious Excellency will keep 
in good mind all he has promised me." The Duke 
was delighted with my words and my demeanour ; 
and he and the Duchess heaped more favours on me 
than I can describe. 

liv. As I had the greatest desire to begin my 

operations, I told his Excellency that I needed a 

house where I could set up my furnaces for work in 

clay and bronze, also in ^old and silver, which re- 



quired other arrangements. " For/' said I, " I knew 
you are well aware how ready I am to serve you in 
all these various departments, and that I need suitable 
rooms for the purpose." To prove to his Excellency 
how eager I was for his service, I had already found 
the house that suited me, in a very convenient part 
of the town. And because I did not want to annoy 
the Duke with demands for money or anything else 
till he had seen my work, I offered him two jewels 
which I had brought from France, and begged him 
to buy the house with them, and to keep them till I 
had earned the amount by my labours. The jewels 
had been exquisitely set by my workmen under 
my direction. He looked at them for some time, 
and then said with an air of utmost frankness, which 
roused false hopes in me, " Take away your jewels, 
Benvenuto. It is you I want, not them ; and you 
shall have your house free." After that he wrote a 
rescript under my petition — I have kept it to this 
hour — to this effect : " Let this house be seen. Find 
who is the owner^ and what price he asks ; for we wish 
to oblige Benvenuto.^* I thought this written order 
made me sure of the house ; for I felt certain that 
my works would give far more satisfaction than what 
I had promised. His Excellency then gave the 
matter into the hands of Pier Francesco Riccio. 
He was a Prato man, and had been the Duke's tutor. 
I spoke to the brute, and told him all the things I 
wanted — for instance, I mentioned that in the garden 
I wished to build a workshop. But he gave the 
business over to a paymaster, a dried-up scarecrow of 
a man, called Lattanzio Gorini. A curious little object 
he was, with spidery hands, and a tiny voice that 
hummed like a gnat, and he crept about like a snail. 
As my ill-luck would have it, he sent to my house as 
much sand and lime and stones as would barely have 
built a dove-cot. Things seemed to be going at 
a rather chilly pace, and I began to feel alarmed. 


But then I said to myself, "Little beginnings some- 
times lead to great ends." And, besides, I could not 
but be hopeful when I thought of all the thousands 
of ducats the Duke had thrown away on hideous 
works of sculpture done by that beast Buaccio 
Bandinelli. So I took heart and goaded Lattanzio 
Gorini to make him bestir himself; but I might as 
well have shouted to a blind boy driving a pack of 
lame donkeys. In spite of all the difficulties, by 
dint of using my own money, I had marked out the 
plan of the shop, and cut down trees and vines ; 
according to my wont, hurrying on with the work 
eagerly — nay, furiously would be the better word. 

On the other hand, I was dependent on Tass9 the 
carpenter, a great friend of mine, whom I had com- 
missioned to make a wooden frame on which to set 
up the great Perseus. This Tasso was a very clever 
man, the best, I think, in his craft. He was good- 
humoured and cheerful, too ; and every time I went 
to him he met me with a laugh, and trolled out a 
ballad in falsetto. At this time my affairs in France 
seemed to be going very ill ; and from those at home 
I could look for little profit, owing to the coldness of 
the Duke ; so that I was nearly desperate. Yet he 
always forced me to listen to at least half his song, 
and after a little I even made merry in his company ; 
and thrust my dismal thoughts as far from me as I 

Iv. I had arranged all the things I have spoken of ; 
and my preparations for the great undertaking were 
well advanced — indeed I had already used some of 
the lime — when one day I was sent for in haste bv 
the major-domo. I found him, after his Excellency s 
dinner, in the Clock hall. When I came in, I greeted 
him with the greatest respect ; but his reception of 
me was most frigid. He asked me who had installed 
me in that house, and with whose authority I had 
begun to build on the premises ; and said he was 



much astonished that I was so daring and presump- 
tuous. I replied that his Excellency had put me in 
possession of the house ; and that his lordship, in the 
Duke's name, had given the orders concerning the 
business to Lattanzio Gorini. Lattanzio had sent 
stone and sand and lime, and supplied everything I 
had asked for, and had said he was doing so by his 
lordship's orders. At this the brute turned on me 
with greater sharpness than before, and told me that 
neither I nor any of those I had named spoke the 
truth. Then I flew into a rage, and said to him, 
" Major-domo, so long as your Excellency speaks in 
accordance with the rank to which you have risen, I 
shall treat you with respect, and address you as sub- 
missively as I do the Duke. Otherwise I shall 
speak to you as to one Ser Pier Francesco Riccio." 
The man got in such a passion that I thought he 
was going mad there and then — even before the time 
appointed by Heaven — and he told me in the most 
insulting terms that he wondered greatly at himself 
for letting me speak at all to a man Hke him. At 
this I was roused to say, "Now hsten to me, 
Ser Pier Riccio, and I'll let you know who are my 
equals. As for yours, they are pedagogues, just fit 
for teaching babes their A B C." At this the man's 
face grew distorted ; he lifted up his voice and re- 
peated his words still more insolently ; whereupon I, 
too, put on a threatening air, and assuming some- 
thing of his own arrogant tone, declared that my 
peers were worthy to speak with Popes, and 
Emperors, and great Kings ; and that there were 
perhaps not two of us in the world, while a dozen 
of his sort could be met going out or in at any door. 
At this he jumped on a window seat in the hall, and 
ordered me to repeat once more the words I had 
said, which I did more hardily than before, adding 
that I did not care to serve the Duke any longer, 
and that I should return to France, which 1 was free 


to do. The brute stood dazed and ashen-coloured ; 
and I took myself off in a towering rage, intending 
to shake the dust of Florence from my feet. And 
would to God I had carried out my intention ! 

His Excellency the Duke can have known nothing 
of this devilry at first ; for not a sign did he make for 
several days, while I thrust all thoughts of Florence 
out of my head, save what concerned my sister and 
my nieces. I was making arrangements to leave 
them as well provided for as I could with the little I 
had brought with me. That done, I meant to return 
to France, and never think of seeing Italy any more. 
I had made up my mind to set off as speedily as 
possible, without leave from the Duke or any one 
else. But one morning the major-domo sent very 
humbly for me ; and began one of his pedantic rig- 
maroles, in which I couldn't see any method, or art, 
or sense, or beginning or end. All I could make out 
was, he professed to be a good Christian, and he did 
not wish to cherish hatred towards any one ; so he 
asked me, on the part of the Duke, what salary I 
desired for my maintenance. I stood there cool and 
collected, making no answer, for I had made up my 
mind not to remain. Getting no reply, he was 
shrewd enough to say, " Oh, Benvenuto, an answer 
is due to Dukes ; and my message comes from his 
Excellency." As it came from his Excellency, I 
said I was quite willing to reply ; and so he was to 
tell the Duke that I did not wish to play second 
fiddle to any of those in my profession whom he 
employed. Then the major-domo answered, " Ban- 
dinelli gets two hundred crowns as a retaining fee ; 
so if you are content with the same, your salary is 
arranged." I said I was satisfied ; and that what I 
earned over and above this should be given me when 
my work had been proved ; and that I left it all to 
the good sense of his most illustrious Excellency. 
So against my will, I picked up the thread again, and 


set to work, the Duke heaping every imaginable 
favour upon me. 

Ivi. I very often received letters from France from 
my most devoted friend Messer Guido Guidi. These 
letters as yet had told me nothing that was not 
pleasant. My Ascanio also wrote, bidding me be of 
good cheer, for if anything of importance happened, 
he would let me know. But it was reported to the 
King how I was employed by the Duke of Florence. 
He was the most good-natured man in the world, 
and many a time used to say, " Why does not 
Benvenuto come back ? " Then he made particular 
inquiries of my young men, both of whom said that, 
according to my letters, things were going well with 
me, and that I was not thinking of coming back 
again to serve his Majesty. The King got angry 
at these bold words, which never came from me, and 
said, "Since he has left us without any reason, we 
shall not ask him again. Let him stop where he is." 
And so those dishonest rascals got their own way in 
the matter ; for once I was back in France, they 
would have been labourers under me again, as they 
were before, whereas, if I did not return, they re- 
mained free and in my place. So they did their best 
that I should not come back. 

Ivii. While I was having the workshop built for 
making the Perseus, I worked in a basement chamber. 
There I made the Perseus of gesso, the same size as 
the finished statue was to be, intending to cast it 
from this mould. But when I saw that this method 
was a rather lengthy one, I resorted to another plan. 
By this time, I must tell you, there had been built, 
brick by brick, a miserable kind of a workshop, so 
wretchedly constructed that I can't bear to think of 
it. There I began the figure of the Medusa. First 
I made a framework of iron, then covered it with ■ 
clay ; and when that was done, I baked it. I had only * 
some little apprentices to help me. One of these, a 



very handsome lad, the son of La Gambetta the pro- 
stitute, I used as a model, since no books teach art as 
does the human figure. I tried to secure workmen, 
that I might make speed with the business ; but I 
could find none, and I could not do everything by 
myself. There were some in Florence who would 
have willingly come ; but Bandinelli put a stop to 
that ; and then after making me waste a deal of time, 
he told the Duke I was trying to steal away his 
workmen, because I found I should never be able to 
put together so large a figure by myself. I com- 
plained to the Duke how the brute annoyed me, and 
begged him to let me have some of the workmen 
belonging to the Opera del Duomo. But my words 
only convinced him of what Bandinelli had said j and 
seeing this I began to do my best unaided. While 
I was working thus day and night, my sister's husband 
took ill, and died after a few days, leaving my sister, 
who was still young, with six daughters, big and Httle, 
to my care. This was the first great trouble I had 
in Florence, being left father and guide of such an 
unhappy family. 

Iviii. Anxious that nothing should go wrong, I 
sent for two labourers to clear the rubbish out of my 
garden. They came from the Ponte Vecchio, one 
of them an old man of sixty, the other a lad of 
eighteen. When they had been with me about 
three days, the lad told me that the old man refused 
to work, and that I should do better to send him 
away ; for not only did he do nothing himself, but 
he kept him from working also. He said that the 
little there was to do, he could do by himself, without 
throwing money away on any one else. This young 
man was called Bernardino Mannellini of Mugello. 
Seeing him so ready for hard work, I asked him if 
he would agree to be my servant ; and the matter 
was settled on the spot. He took care of my house, 
worked in the garden, and afterwards learned to help 


me in the workshop ; so that, bit by bit, he began to 
learn my art with great cleverness, and I never had 
a better helper. Thus, having resolved to do the 
whole business with only this young man's aid, I 
began to prove to the Duke that Bandinelli had 
been telling lies, and that I could get on excellently 
without any of his men. 

About this time I suffered somewhat from an 
affection of the loins ; and as I could not work, I was 
not ill pleased to hang about the Wardrobe of the 
Duke with certain young goldsmiths called Gian- 
pagolo and Domenico Poggini. Under my orders 
they made a little gold vase, worked in low relief 
with figures and other lovely ornaments. It was for 
the Duchess. His Excellency had ordered it for her 
to drink water out of. He also asked me to make 
her a golden belt, which was to be very richly 
worked with jewels, and a great many charming 
masks and other things. This I also did. Every 
now and then the Duke would come into the 
Wardrobe ; and he took the greatest pleasure in seeing 
me work and talking with me. When I got a little 
better, I sent for clay, and while the Duke was 
amusing himself there, I did his portrait larger than 
life. He was so satisfied with this work, and grew 
so fond of me that he said nothing would please him 
better than that arrangements should be made for 
me to work in the palace. So he looked out large 
rooms where I could set up my furnaces and all my 
necessary apparatus ; for he took the greatest interest 
in everything pertaining to my art. But I told his 
Excellency that it was not possible ; for if I did so, I 
should not have finished the work I had undertaken 
in a thousand years. 

lix. From the Duchess I received extraordinary 

kindness ; indeed, she would have liked me to have 

given myself up entirely to her service, throwing 

Perseus and everything else aside. In the midst of 




these vain favours I knew full well that my perverse 
and cruel fortune would surely deal me a blow from 
some new quarter ere long j for I never lost sight of 
the blunder I had made while striving to do the 
thing that was best. I am speaking now of the 
French business. The King found it impossible to 
swallow his great vexation at my departure ; yet 
would he gladly have had me back, if it could have 
been contrived with due regard to his dignity. But, 
feeling myself altogether in the right, I would not 
bend the knee, being convinced that were I to 
demean myself by writing humbly, those French ill- 
wishers of mine would, after their fashion, say I had 
owned myself in the wrong, and that certain mis- 
deeds of which I had been unjustly accused, were 
now proved up to the hilt. Therefore I stood upon 
my dignity, and wrote in haughty terms, like a man 
with right upon his side. Nothing could have better 
pleased those two faithless apprentices of mine. In 
writing to them, I had vaunted the favours heaped on 
me by the lord and lady who held absolute sway in 
Florence, the city of my birth ; and when they 
received these letters, off they would go to the King 
and beseech him to give them my castle, just as he 
had given it to me. His Majesty, who was an 
excellent man and very good-natured, would never 
agree to the audacious demands of those bandits ; for 
he began to be aware of their villainous designs. 
But to keep them on tenter-hooks, and give mc 
a chance of coming back, he ordered his treasurer, 
Messer Giuliano Buonaccorsi, a Florentine citizen, 
to write me an angry letter to this effect : if I 
would still keep the name of honest man which 
I had borne, I was bound, seeing I had taken my 
departure without any cause, to render account of all 
my expenditure and work for his Majesty. 

When I got this letter I was greatly pleased ; 
nothing else could so have tickled my palate, 



Sitting down to answer it, I filled nine sheets 
of ordinary paper, narrating minutely all the works 
I had done, the adventures I had had with them, 
and the sums of money expended on them, which 
had always been paid to me by two notaries and 
one of the royal treasurers, and formally acknow- 
ledged in detail by all the men who had had money 
from me, either for material they had supplied, or for 
work they had done. I had not put a farthing of 
this money in my own pocket ; nor had I had a 
penny for my finished work. All I had brought 
back with me to Italy were some tokens of favour 
and some altogether royal promises, in very truth 
worthy of his Majesty. " I cannot boast of having 
made anything out of my labours," I continued, 
"save some maintenance money agreed to by your 
Majesty ; and even of that more than seven hundred 
gold crowns are still due, which I had purposely 
refrained from touching, that they might be held in 
reserve for my journey back. Yet, though evilly- 
disposed persons, from sheer envy, do me an ill turn, 
as I am well aware they have done, truth ever wins 
in the end. I glory in your most Christian Majesty, 
and am not moved by avarice. Moreover, though I 
know I have done much more for you than I 
promised, and the recompense agreed on has not 
followed, yet I have but one care in the world — to 
remain, in the opinion of your Majesty, the honest, 
upright man I have ever been. If youq:n;lajesty has 
the smallest doubt about this, you have but to hft a 
finger and I shall come flying to render an account 
of myself, even at the risk of my life. But seeing in 
what little respect you hold me, I have been unwilling 
to return and offer my services, aware that I shall 
never lack bread wherever I go. Yet were I to be 
called, I should always respond." In this letter 
there were, besides, other particulars worthy of the 
great King's notice, and necessarv to be stated for 




the maintenance of my honour. Before I sent it off 
I took it to my Duke, who was pleased to read it. 
Then I addressed it to the Cardinal of Ferrara, and 
sent it to France. 

Ix. Now about this time Bernardone Baldini, his 
Excellency's jewel -agent, brought from Venice a 
large diamond weighing more than thirty-five carats. 
And Antonio, son of Vittorio Landi, was also inter- 
ested in the Duke's buying it. The stone had once 
been cut in a point ; but as it did not radiate the 
limpid splendour which was to be expected from 
it, its owners had blunted it ; and in truth it was not 
suitable for table-cutting or for point. Now our 
Duke, who took the greatest delight in jewels, 
though he knew nothing about them, led that 
villain Bernardaccio to expect he would buy the 
diamond ; and as the scoundrel was keen to have all 
the honour to himself of cheating the Duke of 
Florence, he never said a word about it to his comrade, 
Antonio Landi. This Antonio had been a great 
friend of mine from boyhood ; and now when he saw 
I was very intimate with the Duke, he called me 
aside one day (it was near noon, and at the corner 
of the New Market), and spoke to me thus : — 
" Benvenuto, the Duke will doubtless show you a 
diamond which he seems to wish to buy. You will 
see that it is a large one. Help on the sale of it. I 
tell you I can give it for seventeen thousand crowns. 
I am sure cl^ will want your advice ; and if you see 
he is inclined for it, I can manage to let him have 
it." Antonio seemed to be quite certain of his 
ability to negotiate the jewel. I made reply that 
should it be shown to me, and my opinion of it 
askedj I should say exactly what I thought, without 
prejudice to the stone. 

Well, as I have said before, the Duke came every 
day to our shop and stayed several hours ; and more 
than a week after Antonio Landi had spoken to me, 


he showed me the very diamond, one day after 
dinner. I knew it from certain particulars which 
Landi had mentioned respecting its shape and 
weight. Now, as I have said above, this diamond 
gave out a somewhat filmy radiance — for which 
reason its point had been blunted ; and seeing its 
quality, I was in a mind to disadvise so much money 
being spent on it. However, when it was shown 
me, I asked his Excellency what he wished me to 
say ; because for jewellers to value a gem after a noble- 
man has bought it, and to value it when its purchase 
is in question, are two very different things. Then 
his Excellency said the purchase was concluded, and 
I was only to say what I thought of it. I could not 
but point out modestly the little I knew about the 
stone ; but he told me to take note of the beauty of 
its great facets ; whereupon I replied that this was no 
such beauty as his Excellency fancied, but was only 
the result of the point being blunted. At this, my 
lord, who was well aware I was speaking the truth, 
frowned in displeasure, and ordered me to give my 
mind to valuing the jewel and tell him what I 
thought it was worth. Now I counted that, since 
Antonio Landi had offered it to me for seventeen 
thousand crowns, the Duke might have had it for 
fifteen thousand at the most ; and perceiving he 
would take it ill were I to tell him the truth, I 
resolved to back him up in his mistake. So handing 
him the diamond, I said, " Eighteen thousand crowns 
you'll perhaps have given for it." At this he bawled 
out, " Oh ! " with a mouth as big as a well. " Now 
I am sure," said he, " that you know nothing about 
it." And I replied, " Of a truth, my lord, you are 
mistaken. It is for you to vaunt the qualities of your 
diamond ; a knowledge of its value is my business. 
Tell me at least what you gave for it, that I may 
learn to understand, after your Excellency's fashion." 
Then the Duke got up and said angrily, '' Five and 


twenty thousand crowns and more, Benvenuto, did 
it cost me." Then he went away. 

While we had been speaking, Gianpagolo and 
Domenico Poggini, the goldsmiths, were standing 
by ; and the embroiderer, Bachiacca, who was 
working in an adjoining room, ran in to us on 
hearing the noise. So I said, " I should never have 
advised him to buy it ; but yet if he was bent on 
having it, Antonio Landi offered it to me a week ago 
for seventeen thousand crowns, and I believe I might 
have had it for fifteen, or less. But the Duke insists 
on putting a high value on his diamond. When 
Antonio Landi offered it to me for the price I have 
named, how the devil could Bernardone have over- 
reached his Excellency in that shameful way ? " 
And so, utterly disbelieving that the Duke had told 
the truth, we laughed at his simplicity and let the 
matter shde. 

Ixi. I was getting on with my great statue of 
Medusa. As I have said, I had made a framework of 
iron. Then I laid on the clay, according to the 
anatomy of the figure, about half an inch thinner 
than the finished figure was meant to be. After- 
wards I baked it well, and spread wax on the top, 
modelling this with the utmost care. The Duke, 
who often came to see it, was so afraid I might fail 
with the bronze, that he would have liked me to call 
in some master to cast it for me. But he was ever 
speaking with enthusiasm of my skill, which made 
his major-domo be always on the look-out how he 
could lay a trap to make me break my neck. He had 
authority over the high constables and all the offices 
in our poor, unhappy city of Florence. He, a Prato 
man, our enemy, a cooper's son, an ignoramus, just 
because he had been the mouldy old pedagogue of 
Cosimo de' Medici before he was Duke — he to be 
given such power, forsooth ! Now, as I have said, 
always on the outlook to do me an injury, but seeing 
N* 381 


nowhere a pretext, he invented one. He went to 
see the mother of my apprentice boy Cencio ; and 
between them — that rascally pedant and that cheat of 
a whore, Gambetta — they plotted to give me such a 
scare as would force me to flee from Florence. The 
Bargello, too, a Bolognese — afterwards dismissed by 
the Duke for plots of this kind — was leagued with 
them. Gambetta, instigated by that rascally fool of 
a pedagogue, the major-domo, came one Saturday 
evening, three hours after nightfall, to see mc, 
bringing her son ; and told me she had kept him 
shut up at home for several days for my good. I 
replied that, so far as I was concerned, she need not 
keep him shut up ; and laughing at her bawdish 
tricks, I turned to the boy and said to him before her, 
" You know, Cencio, if I have done you any harm." 
He began to cry, and said, " No." Then his 
mother, shaking her head at him, said, " Ah, you 
little rascal, perhaps I don't know anything about it, 
eh ? " Then turning to me, she bade me hide him 
in my house ; for the Bargello was looking for him, 
and would take him anywhere outside my place ; but 
there they would not dare to lay hands on him. To 
this I answered that in my house my widowed sister 
lived, and her six virgin daughters, and I wanted 
nobody else. Whereupon she said that the major- 
domo had given orders to the Bargello, and I should 
surely be arrested. But since I did not want to take 
the boy into my house, if I were to give her a 
hundred crowns, I might set my mind at rest ; for 
the major-domo was a very great friend of hers, and 
I might be sure she would make him do whatever 
she pleased — always provided I gave her the money. 
By this time I was in a fury of rage. " Out of my 
sight," I cried, " you shameful whore ! Were it not 
for respect to the world, and for the innocence ot 
this unhappy boy you have here, Fd have cut your 
throat by now with this dagger of mine. More than 



once Fve had my fingers on it." With these words, 
and many a hard knock besides, I drove her and her 
son out of my house. 

Ixii. When I thought over the villainy and also 
the power of that wicked pedagogue, I judged it 
best to let this scandal spend itself. So next morning 
early, having given my jewels and other things, 
amounting to nearly two thousand crowns, into my 
sister's keeping, I got upon my horse and set off 
towards Venice, taking with me Bernardino di 
Mugello. As soon as I reached Ferrara, I wrote to 
his Excellency the Duke that, though I had gone 
away without being sent, I should return without 
being called. 

On my arrival at Venice, I reflected on all the 
various ways my cruel fortune chose to torture me. 
Nevertheless, feeling lusty and gay, I resolved to face 
her, fighting as usual. And though my own private 
affairs gave me much food for thought, yet I took 
my diversion about that beautiful and magnificent 
city, and went to pay my respects to the marvellous 
painter Titian, also to Jacopo del Sansovino, the 
admirable sculptor and architect, and one of our 
Florentines, who was handsomely maintained by the 
Signory of Venice. We had known each other 
when young, in Rome, and, of course, in Florence 
too, of which he was a citizen. Both of those great 
artists gave me the kindest reception. Next day 
I fell in with Messer Lorenzo de' Medici, who 
thereupon took me by the hand in the heartiest 
fashion possible ; for we had known each other in 
Florence when I was making Duke Alessandro's 
money, and later in Paris, when I was in the service 
of the King. He had been living then in the house 
of Messer Giuliano Buonaccorsi ; and since he had 
nowhere else to go for amusement, save at the 
greatest danger of his life, he took to spending the 
most of his time with me, watching me at work on 



some large plate I had in hand. So, as I say, on 
account of our acquaintance in the past, he took me 
now by the hand, and brought me to his house, where 
I saw the Lord Prior degli Strozzi, brother of my 
lord Piero. We had a merry meeting, and they 
asked me how long I meant to stay in Venice, 
believing me to be on my way back to France. I 
made answer to these gentlemen that I had left 
Florence for a particular reason — which I have 
already explained — and that in two or three days I 
meant to go back to the Duke's service. When I 
told them this, my lord Prior and Messer Lorenzo 
turned on me with such severity that I felt greatly 
alarmed. "You would do better," they said, "to 
return to France, where you are rich and famous ; 
for to go back to Florence is to lose all you have 
gained in France ; and you will draw nothing from 
your stay there save vexations." I made no answer ; 
but set off the next day, as secretly as possible, on 
my way back to Florence. In the meantime that 
devilish scandal had blown over ; for I had written to 
my great Duke an explanation of the circumstances 
that had driven me to Venice. It was with his usual 
distant and severe manner he received me when I 
went to pay him an informal visit. This humour 
lasted some time, and then he turned towards me 
pleasantly, and asked me where I had been. I re- 
plied that my heart had never travelled an inch away 
from his most illustrious Excellency ; only some 
good reasons had forced my body to go a-wandering. 
Then, relaxing more and more, he began to ask me 
about Venice ; and thus we talked for a while. At 
last he bade me stick to my work, and finish his 
Perseus for him. So I went back home glad and 
light of heart, rejoiced my family, that is, my sister 
and her six daughters, took up my work again, and 
brought it forward with all the energy I possessed. 
Ixiii. The first thing I ever cast in bronze was the 



large portrait bust of his Excellency, which I had 
modelled in clay in the Poggini's workshop, while I 
had the pain in my back. It was a work that gave 
much pleasure, yet I only did it to gain experience 
in clays suitable for casting in bronze. I knew that 
the wonderful Donatello had used Florence clay for 
casting his bronzes ; but it seemed to me that he 
had worked under tremendous difficulties. This I 
believed to be due to some defect in the clay ; so 
before beginning to cast my Perseus, I wished first 
to make some experiments. These taught me that 
the clay was good ; only the admirable Donatello had 
not quite understood it : for I saw that his works had 
been cast with endless difficulty. So, as I have 
mentioned, I compounded the clay by a special process, 
and found it most serviceable. Then, as I have said, 
I cast the head with it. As I had as yet made no 
furnace, I used that of Maestro Zanobi di Pagno, the 
bell-founder. When I saw that the bust came out 
with great precision, I began without delay to set up 
a small furnace in the shop which the Duke had had 
arranged for me, according to my own plan and de- 
sign, in the house which he had given me. As soon 
as the furnace was ready, with all haste possible I 
made my preparations for casting the statue of 
Medusa, that woman writhing under the feet of 
Perseus. The casting was a matter of the utmost 
difficulty ; and to avoid any mistake, I determined to 
use all the knowledge I had been at such pains to 
acquire. Thus the first cast I made in my Httlc 
furnace was perfectly successful ; and so clean was it 
that my friends thought there was no need for me to 
touch it up again. Of course, certain Germans and 
Frenchmen, who plume themselves on knowing 
wonderful secrets, declare they can cast bronze so 
that it needs no retouching ; but this is foolish talk ; 
for after bronze has been cast, it must be worked on 
with hammers and chisels in the fashion of the 



marvellous antique masters, and of the moderns too ; 
at least, such moderns as have learnt anything at all 
about the matter. His Excellency was so much 
pleased that several times he came to my house to 
see it, thus putting heart into me to do my best. 
But the rabid envy of Bandinello, who was always 
whispering harm of me in the Duke's ears, had such 
influence on him, that he was persuaded to think my 
having cast a single statue was no proof I could put 
the whole together. It was a new art to me ; and 
his Excellency should take heed lest he was throw- 
ing his money away, he said. Words like these 
breathed in the ears of my glorious Duke, so swayed 
him that certain moneys for service were disallowed 
me after this, so that I was forced to expostulate 
somewhat warmly with his Excellency. One 
morning, therefore, when I had waited for him in 
the Via de' Servi, I said to him, " My lord, as I no 
longer receive my necessary supplies, I fear your 
Excellency has lost trust in me. But I assure you 
once more that I have it in me to carry out this 
work three times as well as the model. This, indeed, 
I have already promised you." 

Ixiv. I perceived that my words had no effect 
on his Excellency, for he made me no answer. 
Then all at once rage took hold on me ; and I was 
filled with an intolerable heat of passion, which broke 
forth in these words, "My lord, this city has in 
truth ever been the school of noble genius. But 
when a man has become conscious of his power, and 
has won some little skill in his art, if he would fain 
enhance the honour of his city and of his glorious 
prince, he had best go and work elsewhere. And 
that this is so, my lord, I need not insist ; for your 
Excellency knows what manner of men were Dona- 
tello and the great Leonardo da Vinci, and what 
are the powers of the marvellous Michel Agnolo 
Buonarroti in our own day. Their great talents 



have given increase to the glory of your Excellency. 
And so I, too, hope to do my part. Therefore, my 
lord, give me leave to go. But let your lordship 
be warned ; and give no such leave to Bandinello. 
Let him have even greater rewards than he asks of 
you ; for were he to go abroad, such is his pre- 
sumptuous ignorance, that he would of a surety bring 
shame on our most noble school. Now give me 
leave to go, my lord ; nor do I ask other recompense 
for my labours to this hour than the good-will ot 
your most illustrious Excellency." When he saw I 
was in earnest, he turned to me with something like 
vexation, and said, " Benvenuto, if you have a mind 
to finish the work, you shall want for nothing." 
Then I thanked him, and said my one desire was 
to prove to those envious persons that I was 
man enough to carry through the work as I had 
promised. So I parted from his Excellency ; and 
after this some trifling help was given me ; but I was 
forced to dip into my own pocket, that the work 
might advance at even a moderate pace. 

I was in the habit of spending the evening in his 
lordship's Wardrobe, where the brothers Domenico 
and Gianpagolo Poggini were working at a golden 
drinking-cup and at a golden girdle for the Duchess, 
which I have spoken of before. Besides, his Excel- 
lency had ordered from me a little model of a pendant, 
in which was to be set the big diamond Bernardone 
and Antonio Landi had forced him to buy. In vain 
I shirked the thing j the Duke used such amiable 
persuasions that he made me work at it every evening 
till four hours after sundown. Indeed, with his in- 
sinuating speeches he would fain have forced me to 
work at it by day as well ; but to this I refused to 
consent, though I felt certain I was thus bringing 
down his wrath upon my head. And so one evening, 
when I had come rather later than my wont, he gave 
me for greeting, " Unwelcome ! [Mahenutoy^ To 



which I replied, " My lord, such is not my name, 
but Benvenuto am I called. However, I think your 
Excellency must be jesting with me ; and so I shall 
leave the matter." Whereupon he answered that he 
meant what he said ; he was not jesting, and that 
I had better see to my behaviour ; for it had come to 
his ears that, trusting to his favour, I cheated now 
one man, now another. Then I entreated his most 
illustrious Excellency to do me the justice of naming 
one single man whom I had ever cheated. Thereat 
he turned on me in anger with, " Go and give back 
what you have of Bernardone's. There's one man 
for you." To this I answered, " My lord, I thank 
you, and I beg you to do me the honour of listening 
to just three or four words I have to say. The truth 
is this : he lent me a pair of old scales, two anvils, 
and three little hammers. But a fortnight ago I told 
his man, Giorgio da Cortona, to send for these tools ; 
and Giorgio came for them himself. And if your 
most illustrious Excellency finds, on the proven 
evidence of such as have reported these slanders, or 
of any one else, that from the day I was born till 
now, I have ever had anything from any man in the 
way you indicate, either in Rome or in France, then 
punish me unsparingly." When the Duke saw me 
thus moved by wrath, he turned to me like the dis- 
creetest and most affectionate master, and said, " My 
reproof was not meant for the blameless. And so, if 
it be as you say, you shall always be welcome to me 
as in the past." And I replied, " Be it known to 
your Excellency, that Bernardone's villainy forces me 
to ask, nay, to entreat you to tell me the price of the 
great diamond with the blunted point. Then I hope 
to show you why the miserable scoundrel seeks to 
bring disgrace on me." His Excellency answered, 
" The diamond cost me twenty-five thousand ducats. 
Why do you ask ? " " Because, my lord, on such a 
day, at such an hour, at the corner of the Mercato 


Nuovo, Antonio, the son of Vittorio Landi, bade mc 
try to do a deal with your most illustrious Excellency 
for it ; and to begin with, he asked sixteen thousand 
ducats for it. Now your lordship knows what you 
bought it for. And for the truth of this, ask 
Domenico Poggini and his brother Gianpagolo, who 
are here ; I told them at the time, and since then have 
never spoken of it ; for, as your Excellency told me 
I knew nothing about the matter, I thought you 
wanted it to be considered of great value. I would 
have you know, my lord, that I do understand 
such things ; and as to the other affair, I hold myself 
to be as honest as any man ever born into this world, 
be the other who he may. I will not seek to rob 
you of eight or ten thousand ducats at a stroke, but 
endeavour rather to gain them by my labours. I 
engaged to serve your Excellency as sculptor, gold- 
smith, and die-maker ; as spy on the affairs of others 
— never ! And what I now say, I say in my own 
defence, and want no informer's pay therefor. I 
speak out now in the presence of all these honest men 
here, that your Excellency may put no fait'i in what 
Bernardone tells you." The Duke rose up in 
sudden wrath, and sent for Bernardone, who had to 
flee as far as Venice, along with Antonio Landi. 
Antonio, by the way, explained to me that he had 
been speaking of quite another diamond. 

After their flight to Venice and their return from 
thence, I went to see the Duke, and said to him, 
" My lord, what I told you was the truth ; and what 
Bernardone told you about the tools was a lie. You 
would do well to bring this to the test, and I will 
betake me to the Bargello." The Duke replied, 
" Benvenuto, think only of being an honest man as 
in the past, and fear nothing." So the thing passed 
away in smoke, and I never heard it spoken of again. 
Meanwhile I set to finishing the jewel ; and when 
one day I took it to the Duchess quite complete, she 



told me that she valued my workmanship as much as 
the diamond which Bernardaccio had forced them to 
buy. Then she desired me to attach it to her 
bosom with my own hand, and gave me a large pin 
for the purpose, with which I fastened it ; and I took 
my leave high in her favour. Afterwards I heard 
that they had it set over again by a German or some 
other foreigner — though, if it be true, I know not — 
because Bernardone said the diamond would show 
better if set with more simplicity. 

Ixv. The brothers Domenico and Giovanpagolo 
Poggini, the goldsmiths, were working, as I believe I 
have already said, in his Excellency's Wardrobe on 
some little gold vases after my design, with little 
figures chiselled in low relief, as well as other in- 
genious devices. Now many a time I said to the Duke, 
*'My lord, if your Excellency would only pay some 
workmen, I should make the coins for your mint and 
medals with your head on them, too. I would com- 
pete with the ancients, with hope to surpass them ; 
for since the time when I made the medals for Pope 
Clement, I have learnt so much that I can do far 
better. I can even outdo the coins I made for Duke 
Alessandro, which are still considered very beautiful. 
Besides, I could make for you great vases of gold 
and silver, like the many I did for the great King 
Francis of France ; who made the work easy for me 
in every way, so that I wasted no time needed for 
great colossal statues or other works of sculpture." 
The Duke's answer was, " Go on then, and I shall 
see." But he never gave me either men or appliances 
or help of any kind. 

One day his most illustrious Excellency supplied 
me with several pounds of silver, and said, " This is 
from my mines. Make me a fine vase." Now as I 
did not wish to stop working on my Perseus, and yet 
desired greatly to serve him, I gave it, with my 
designs and little models in wax, to a rascal called 


Piero di Martino, a goldsmith. He began it badly, 
and, besides, stopped working after a while ; so that I 
lost more time than if I had done it with my own 
hand. When several months had been wasted like 
this, and I saw that Piero would neither work on it, 
nor let any one else do so, I made him return it to 
me ; but it was only after the utmost efforts that I 
got back the body of the vase, so ill begun as I have 
said, and the rest of the silver I had given him. The 
Duke, who heard something of our bickerings, sent 
for the vase and for the models, and never told me 
why or wherefore. Enough that he gave some 
designs of mine to be carried out by various persons 
in Venice and other places, and was very badly served 
by them. The Duchess would often ask me to 
do goldsmith's work for her, to which I was wont to 
answer, that I was well known to everybody through- 
out all Italy for a skilful goldsmith ; but that Italy 
had never yet seen sculpture from my hand. True, 
in the profession there were certain sculptors, mad 
with envy of me, who laughed at me, and called me 
the new sculptor. " 1 hope to show these," said I, 
" that I am an old sculptor, if God but give me grace to 
complete my Perseus, and set it up in his Excellency's 
magnificent Piazza." Then I retired to my house, 
and gave my mind to work day and night, never 
showing myself in the palace. But nevertheless I 
was fain to keep in the good graces of the Duchess ; 
and therefore I had some silver vases made for her, 
about the size of those little pots you buy for a 
farthing, chased with lovely masks after the rarest 
antique fashion. When I took them to her, she 
received me with the greatest kindness imaginable ; 
and paid for the silver and gold I had used for them. 
Then I recommended myself to her, and begged her 
to say to his Excellency that I had had little help in 
my great work, also to counsel him to trust less in that 
cvil-tongued Bandinello, who was keeping me from 



completing my Perseus. The tears stood in my eyes 
as I uttered these words. The Duchess shrugged 
her shoulders, and said, " Surely the Duke must know 
this Bandinello to be a worthless creature." 

Ixvi. About this time I was staying much at 
home, rarely appearing at the palace, and working 
with the utmost energy to finish my statue. I was 
forced to pay the workmen out of my own purse ; for 
the Duke, who had ordered Lattanzio Gorini to pay 
them for about eighteen months, got weary of the 
business, and withdrew the order. When I asked 
Lattanzio why he no longer paid me, he answered, 
shaking his spidery hands, and in his tiny buzzing 
voice like a gnat's, " Why do you not finish your 
work ? It is beheved you'll never carry it through." 
I answered him hotly and said, "The devil take 
you and all who believe I shall never finish the 
thing ! " 

In despair, I went home to my unfortunate Perseus, 
and not without tears ; for I called to mind the 
favourable conditions of my life in Paris when I was 
in the service of the great King Francis. There I 
had everything and to spare ; and here all was lacking. 
More than once I was inclined to give up in despera- 
tion. One of these bad days I mounted my pretty 
little horse, and with a hundred crowns in my pocket, 
I went oflF to Fiesole to see my natural son, whom I 
had put out to nurse with a gossip of mine, the wife 
of one of my workmen. When I reached the place, 
I found the little boy in good health, and with my 
heart full of grief, I kissed him. When I was for 
going away, he would not let me, holding me fast 
with his little hands, and bursting into a passion of 
tears and cries — a wonderful thing indeed, seeing he 
was only about two years old. Now in my desperate 
condition I had made up my mind, if I came upon 
Bandinello — who was in the habit of going every 
evening to a farm he had above San Domenico — that 


I would be the death of him. So I tore myself from 
my baby, leaving him crying there bitterly, and set 
my face towards Florence. I had just reached the 
Piazza of San Domenico, when Bandinello came up 
from the other side. Now was the moment for my 
deed of blood ; but when I approached him and 
raised my eyes, I saw he was unarmed, riding on a 
miserable mule, no better than an ass ; and with him 
was a boy of ten years old. As soon as he set eyes 
on me, he became pale as death, and shook from head 
to foot. Aware how vile such a deed would be, I 
called out, " Don*t be afraid, you low coward ; for 
I don't think you worth my blows ! " He looked at 
me meekly and said never a word. Then I com- 
manded my rage ; and thanked God, who by His own 
strength had kept me from such a deed of violence. 
Thus having shaken off that devilish fury, I became 
myself again, and spoke thus : "If God lends me 
His grace so that I finish my work, I hope through 
its excellence to kill off all my rascally enemies ; and 
thus shall my vengeance be far greater and more 
glorious than had I vented it all on one single man." 
And with this good resolution in my heart, I went 
home. At the end of three days I heard that my 
gossip had smothered my only son ; and the news 
gave me as great grief as ever I have felt in all my 
life. However, I knelt down and, weeping, thanked 
God, according to my wont, saying, "Lord, Thou 
gavest him to me, and now Thou hast taken him ; 
and for all I thank Thee from my heart." Though 
this great grief had almost overpowered me ; yet I 
made a virtue of necessity, as is my habit, and as best 
I could resigned myself to facts. 

Ixvii. At the time I am speaking of a young 
fellow in Bandinello's service, one Francesco, the 
son of Matteo the smith, left him, and asked me if 
I had any work for him to do. I was agreeable ; 
and sent him to touch up the figure of Medusa, 



which had been cast. About a fortnight later he 
told me he had been speaking with his master — I 
mean Bandinello, — who had sent me a message, 
that if I wished to do a figure in marble, he could 
give me a fine block. I answered at once, "Tell 
him I accept ; and may it be a stumbling-block in his 
path ; for he is always irritating me, forgetting how 
he was perilously in my power in the Piazza of San 
Domenico. So now tell him I certainly want the 
marble. I never speak of him, but the brute is 
always vexing me ; and I verily believe that you 
came to work for me at his suggestion, just to spy 
on my doings. Well, go and tell him that I will 
have the marble willy-nilly; and mind you come 
back with it." 

Ixviii. It was long since I had put in an appear- 
ance at the palace ; so I took it into my head to go 
one morning. The Duke had just almost finished 
dinner ; and from what I heard, he had been talking 
of me that very morning, and most favourably. 
Among other things he had praised my talents for 
setting jewels very highly. Therefore when the 
Duchess caught sight of me, she sent Messer Sforza 
to call me. When I approached her Excellency, she 
begged me to set a diamond in point for a ring which 
she said she meant to wear always on her finger. 
She gave me the measurements, and also the diamond, 
which was worth about a hundred crowns, and asked 
me to do the thing speedily. Thereupon the 
Duke raised some objections, saying, " Quite true, 
Benvenuto had once no rivals in this art ; but 
now he has given it up, and I fear, to make a little 
ring such as you desire, will be too burdensome to 
him. I pray you, therefore, do not trouble him 
about this little thing ; for it will seem a considerable 
one to him now that he is out of the way of such 
work." I thanked the Duke for what he said, and 
then entreated him to let me do this trifling service 



for the Duchess. I set to work on it at once, and 
finished it in a day or two. It was for the little 
finger ; so I made for it tiny cherubs in the round 
and four little masks, which together made the ring. 
I also managed to insert some fruits and connecting 
scrolls in enamel, so that the jewel in this setting 
made a delightful whole. Then I took it without 
delay to the Duchess, who told me, in the most 
courteous words, I had done an exquisite piece of 
work, and that she would keep me in mind. This 
ring she presented to King Philip ; and after that 
was always giving me orders ; but so courteously 
did she make her demands that I went out of my 
way to serve her, though I hardly knew the colour 
of her money. Yet God knows I was in want of 
it ; for I was set on finishing my Perseus, and had 
looked up some young fellows to help me with the 
job, whom I paid out of my own pocket. Now I 
began to let myself be more seen about than I had 
lately been doing. 

Ixix. One feast day I went to the palace after 
dinner ; and when I had come to the Hall of the 
Clock I saw the door of the Wardrobe open. As I 
was approaching it, the Duke called to me, greeted 
me pleasantly, and said, " Welcome ! look at that 
box which Lord Stefano of Palestrina has sent to 
me. Open it, and see what is inside." This I did, 
and then called out, "My lord, it is a figure in 
Greek marble — a marvellous thing ! I swear, among 
all the antiques I have seen I never remember the 
figure of a young boy so beautifully worked, nor in 
so fine a style. I would like to have the restoring 
of it for your Excellency — the head, arms, and feet. 
I will make an eagle too, so that you may name it 
Ganymede. And though it hardly befits me to 
cobble statues, which is the business of a set of 
bungling fools — and ill enough they do it — yet the 
excellence of this great master calls aloud for my 



aid.'* The Duke was in great feather on hearing 
the statue was so fine ; and he asked me endless 
questions about it, saying, " Tell me precisely, 
Benvenuto, my friend, in what consists the great 
art of this master who stirs such wonder in you." 
Thereupon I did my best to make his Excellency 
understand the great beauty, the high artistic know- 
ledge, and the rare style of the thing. On these 
points I discoursed at length, and the more willingly 
that I could see his Excellency was delighted. 

Ixx. Now while I was thus agreeably holding 
converse with the Duke, a page went out of the 
Wardrobe ; and the door being left open, Bandinello 
came in. When the Duke caught sight of him a 
shade passed over his face, and with a cold look in 
his direction, he said, " What are you doing here ? ** 
Bandinello made no answer to this ; but suddenly 
spying the box with the uncovered statue, he shook 
his head and said, with one of his jeering laughs, 
" My lord, this is the sort of thing I have so often 
warned your Excellency against. Let me tell you, 
those ancient fellows knew nothing at all about 
anatomy, and so their works are full of blunders." I 
held my tongue meanwhile, paying not the slightest 
attention to what he was saying ; indeed, I had 
turned my back on him. But as soon as the beast 
had stopped his wearisome chattering, the Duke 
cried, " O Benvenuto, this is exactly the contrary 
of what you were only now explaining to me with 
such fine-sounding reasons. So let's hear what you 
have to say in its defence." In answer to the Duke's 
words, which were uttered very graciously, I said, 
"My lord, your most illustrious Excellency should 
know that Baccio Bandinello is evil through and 
through, and always has been so ; thus whatever he 
looks at, were it a thing of supreme excellence, is at 
once converted by his ugly eyes into all that is 
superlatively bad. Now I, who am drawn only to 


the good, see the truth with clearer sight. There- 
fore what I told your Excellency regarding this 
beautiful statue is the bare truth ; and what Bandi- 
nello said was spoken out of that evil of which he is 
made up." The Duke listened to me with the 
utmost delight ; but all the time I was speaking 
Bandinello was writhing and making the ugliest 
feces you ever saw — as if he weren't ugly enough 
already. Then the Duke went off, walking through 
some of the lower rooms, and Bandinello after him. 
The chamberlains tugged at my cloak to send me at 
their heels ; and so we all followed in the Duke's 
train till he came to a certain room, where he sat 
down. Bandinello and I stood, one on his right 
hand and one on his left. I held my tongue ; and 
his Excellency's attendants who were standing about, 
looked hard at Bandinello, sniggering to each other 
over what I had said when we were upstairs. 
Then Bandinello began a palaver, saying, "My 
lord, when I uncovered my Hercules and Cacus 
I believe of a truth that more than a hundred 
wretched sonnets were made about me, and they 
contained all the evil which the mob could find 
to say against me." Here I cut in with, "My 
lord, when our Michel Agnolo Buonarroti opened 
his Sacristy, with all its fine statues, to the public, 
the admirable school of artists in our city, friends 
to truth and right, made more than a hundred 
sonnets on him, each man vying with the other as 
to who should praise him best. Thus, as Bandinello's 
statue merited all the abuse which he himself owns 
was launched at it, so to Buonarroti's was due all the 
praise it received." Bandinello got into such a rage 
at my words that he nearly burst. Turning on me, 
he roared, "And you — what do you know against 
it ? " " I'll soon tell you that," I rejoined, " if you 
have patience enough to listen to me." " Hurry up 
then," said he. The Duke and the others who were 


standing about, were all attention. Then I began 
thus : " I would have you know that it is a grief to 
me to expose the defects of your work ; I shall not, 
however, speak from my own book, but shall utter the 
judgment of our noble band of Florentine masters." 
Meanwhile the wretch was breaking in rudely, and 
agitating his hands and feet in so intolerable a fashion, 
that he roused my wrath to such a pitch, that I took 
up the word again far more harshly than I should 
have done if he had behaved himself. "This great 
school of artists," I continued, " say that if you were 
to shave off Hercules's hair, there wouldn't be any 
noddle left to hold his brains ; and as for his face, 
one can't tell whether it's a man's, or that of some 
cross between a lion and an ox ; that it in no way 
corresponds to the attitude of the figure ; that it is 
ill set on the neck, with so little art, and such plenti- 
ful lack of grace, that a worse thing was never seen. 
Moreover, its great hideous shoulders are like nothing 
so much as two pommels of an ass's pack-saddle ; and 
the breasts and all the muscles are not modelled from 
a man, but from a great sack of melons set up against 
a wall. Then the loins look as if they were meant 
to represent a bagful of calabashes ; and as for the two 
legs, it would be hard to tell how they are fastened 
on to that lumbering body ; nor can you see on which 
leg he is standing, nor which he is straining ; yet he 
is certainly not standing on both, as may be now and 
then seen in the statues of masters who know their 
business. Again, it is evident that the Hercules is 
bending forward more than a third of a cubit ; and 
that by itself is the worst, the most intolerable fault 
to be found in the work of the veriest low-bred im- 
postors. As for the arms, they say that they stick 
out in the most graceless feshion, and show no more 
evidence of knowledge than if you had never seen a 
nude model in your life j that the right leg of 
Hercules and that of Cacus run into each other ; and 



if you were to separate them, there would not be 
enough stuff for one calf, let alone two. They say, 
moreover, that one of Hercules's feet is underground, 
and the other looks as if it were being grizzled by 

Ixxi. The man could not rein himself in to hear 
with patience what I still had to say about the grave 
faults of the Cacus ; first, because it was the truth I 
was telling ; and, secondly, because I was revealing 
clearly to the Duke and the rest who were present, the 
kind of man he was ; and they were showing by every 
look and movement their great consternation, and 
their recognition that I was in the right. Suddenly 
the wretch burst out, " Ah, you foul-tongued rascal ! 
You say nothing, then, of my design ? " I answered 
that he who designed well could never work badly ; 
"and so I must believe that your design is on a level 
with your execution." Now when he saw from his 
Excellency's face that he was on my side, and felt 
the others lacerating him with their eyes and ges- 
tures, he gave free rein to his insolence, and turning 
on me his most abominable face, he shot out, " Hold 
your tongue, you beastly evil-liver ! " The Duke 
scowled at him, and the rest looked towards him 
with clenched teeth and lowering brows ; and I was 
maddened with rage at this villainous insult. Yet 
in a flash I mastered myself, and cried, " You fool ! 
you go too far ! But would to God I knew how to 
practise the noble art to which you make allusion j 
for one reads that Jove did so with Ganymede in 
paradise ; and here, on earth, the highest emperors 
and the greatest kings are adepts. As for me, I am 
only a poor and humble man, who could not, who 
knows not, how to take in hand a thing so much 
beyond him." At this none of them could contain 
themselves, and the Duke and all the rest broke into 
a tumult of laughter, such as you never heard in your 
life. Now, though I spoke thus jestinglv, you must 



know, kind readers, my heart was bursting within 
me at the thought that the vilest scoundrel who ever 
breathed should have dared — and that, too, in the 
presence of such a prince — to hurl at me so foul an 
insult. But I would have you know that it was the 
Duke he insulted, and not me. For if I had been 
elsewhere save in that noble presence, I should have 
killed him on the spot. When the foul scoundrel, 
who was a blockhead to boot, saw that the gentlemen 
still went on laughing, he thought to turn their minds 
from the jests that had been made at his expense, and 
began on a new tack. " This Benvenuto," said he, 
"goes about bragging that I have promised him a 
block of marble." Whereupon I broke in with, 
" How now ! Didn't you send Francesco, the son 
of Matteo the smith, your apprentice, to tell me, that 
if I had a mind to work in marble, you would give 
me a block ? And I said, Yes ; and Til have it too." 
" That you shan't," said he ; " make up your mind 
to that." Now brimful of rage as I was at the 
slanderous insults that had been flung at me, my 
senses grew dazed and blind to the presence of the 
Duke. I broke out in a wild fury, " I tell you plainly 
that if you don't send the marble to my house, you 
can seek another world ; for if I meet you in this 
one, I'll rip open your bag of wind ; and that's sure ! " 
All at once I became aware I was in the presence of 
the great Duke ; and turning humbly towards his 
Excellency, I said, "My lord, one fool makes a 
hundred. The follies of this man blurred the glory 
of your Excellency, and made me forget myself." 
Then the Duke said to Bandinello, " Is it true you 
promised him the marble ? " And Bandinello owned 
it was. Whereupon the Duke said to me, " Go to 
the Opera, and take a block such as you want." But 
I insisted that he had promised to send it to my 
house. The words between us were terrible to hear ; 
for I did not want the stone save in the way I had 


said. Next morning a block was brought to my 
house ; and when I asked who was the sender, they 
said it was Bandinello, and that it was the piece of 
marble he had promised me. 

Ixxii. I had it at once carried into my workshop, 
and began to chisel it. While I was working at 
this, I made the model ; but so great was my desire 
to be at work on marble, that I could not wait to 
make a model with all the care this art exacts. Now 
I heard it give out a cracked sound under my chisel, 
so that over and over again I repented having ever 
begun to work on it. Nevertheless, I made what I 
could out of it — that is, the Apollo and Hyacinth, 
which can be seen unfinished in my shop. While I 
was working on this, the Duke came often to my 
house, and many a time did he say to me, " Leave 
your bronze alone for a bit, and let me see you 
working on the marble." So then I would take up 
my tools and chisel away briskly. The Duke made 
inquiries about the model I had made for the marble, 
to which I answered, "My lord, this block is much 
cracked j yet for all that I shall make something out 
of it. So I have not been able to decide about the 
model ; but I shall go forward with the thing as best 
I can." Then with the greatest despatch he sent to 
Rome for a piece of Greek marble, that I might 
restore his antique Ganymede, which had given rise 
to the quarrel with Bandinello. When it had come, 
I thought it would be a pity to break off pieces of it 
for the head and arms and the other parts which were 
wanting in the Ganymede ; so I procured some 
more, and kept this Greek block for a Narcissus, 
making a Httle model of it first in wax. Now this 
stone had two holes in it, more than a quarter of a 
cubit in depth, and fully two inches wide ; and that 
accounts for the attitude, which I chose in order to 
avoid the defects. But for scores and scores of years 
the block had been rained on j and the rain standing 


continually in these holes, had trickled through till 
the stone was all decayed ; and how rotten it was 
round the upper hole was shown afterwards during 
the Arno floods, when the water rose in my shop 
more than a cubit and a half high. At that time the 
Narcissus was on a wooden stand j and the force of the 
water upset it, so that it was broken above the breasts. 
I mended it, and that the joining might not be noticed 
I made the garland of flowers which you can see on 
its bosom. I used to work at it for hours before 
daybreak, or even, indeed, on holidays, that I might 
not lose time I wanted for the Perseus. 

Now one morning I was sharpening some chisels 
before beginning my work, when the finest splinter of 
steel flew into my right eye, entering the pupil so far 
that it could not be taken out by any means. I 
thought for certain I should lose the sight of that eye. 
At the end of several days I called in Maestro 
RafFaello de' Pilli, the surgeon. He brought with 
him two live pigeons. Then laying me down on my 
back on a table, with a knife he cut open a great vein 
in the birds' wings, so that the blood spurted out into 
my eye. This eased me at once ; by two days 
the splinter was out, and I was at rest, with my eye- 
sight better than before. The feast of St. Lucy 
coming on in three days, I made a golden eye out of 
a French crown ; and had it offered at the saint's 
shrine by one of my six nieces, the daughters of my 
sister Liperata. She was about ten years old ; and I 
went with her to church to thank God and St. Lucy. 
For some time I gave up working on the Narcissus, 
but I got on with my Perseus, though under the 
difficulties I have already spoken of; for I had a 
mind to finish it, and then to be off. 

Ixxiii. I had cast the Medusa, and it had come out 

perfectly ; so I had great hopes of doing as well with 

my Perseus. The wax had been worked over it ; and 

I assured myself that in bronze it would be just as 



successful as the Medusa. In wax the thing looked 
so fine that the Duke was much pleased with its 
beauty. But either some one had made him believe 
that it would fail in bronze, or he imagined this of 
himself; at all events one day, when he had come to 
see me, which he did with uncommon frequency at 
that time, he said to me, " Benvenuto, this statue 
cannot be a success in bronze — for the rules of the 
art do not permit of it." I felt the words of his 
Excellency very keenly, and I replied, "My lord, I 
know you have little faith in me ; and this I believe 
is due to your having too much faith in those who 
speak ill of me, or because you know nothing of the 
matter." He hardly let me finish my words ere he 
cut in, " I profess to know a great deal ; and what is 
more, I do know what I am talking about." Where- 
upon I replied, " Yes, Hke a prince ; not as an artist. 
For did your Excellency understand the matter as you 
think you do, you would believe me on the strength 
of the great bronze bust I made of you, which was 
sent to Elba , also of my restoration of the beautiful 
marble Ganymede, a task of extreme difficulty, in the 
completion of which I had more trouble than if I had 
done it all over again j likewise the casting of the 
Medusa, which your Excellency sees now before you 
— and a difficult casting it was, such as no other man 
had ever done before me in this devilish art. Look, 
my lord ! I made that furnace over again on a 
different system from any other ; for besides the new 
improvements and clever inventions to be seen in it, 
I made two issues for the bronze ; otherwise this 
difficult, contorted figure could never have come out 
successfully. It is all due to my intelligence that it 
did not fail, and that I carried through what none of 
the masters of the art believed possible. Know also, 
my lord, that of a truth, with all the great and 
complicated works I did in France under that mar- 
vellous King Francis, I succeeded admirably ; and this 


only because of the encouragement which the good 
King gave me by his handsome provision for my 
needs, and his grant of as many v^rorkmen as I asked 
for. Indeed, there w^ere tirrles when I employed 
more than forty, all chosen by myself. That was the 
reason I did so many fine things in so short a time. 
Now, my lord, have faith in me, and grant me the 
help I need j for I have good hopes of carrying through 
a work which will please you. On the other hand, 
if your Excellency breaks my spirit, and gives me 
none of the help I need, it is impossible for me, or 
any other man in the world, to do anything of 

Ixxiv. It was all he could do to stay and listen to 
my arguments. Now he turned this way, and now 
the other ; and as for me, poor miserable wight, I 
was in despair, recalling the great state that had been 
mine in France, and grieving sorely after it. Then 
he said, " Now tell me, Benvenuto, how is it possible 
that that fine head of Medusa, up there in the clutch 
of Perseus, should ever come out well ? " Where- 
upon I answered, *' Now, see, my lord ! If you had 
the acquaintance with the art you profess to have, 
you would have no fear for the success of that fine 
head ; but you might be anxious about this right 
foot, seeing it is down here, and somewhat far apart 
from the rest." At these words he turned, half in 
anger, to some gentlemen who were present, and 
said, "I believe Benvenuto contradicts my every 
word out of mere conceit." Then with a half con- 
temptuous smile, reflected on the faces of his courtiers, 
he addressed me, "I am wilHng to hsten with patience 
to any convincing arguments you can possibly give 
me in support of your statement." To this I 
replied, "I will present so good an argument that 
your Excellency shall see with the utmost clearness 
how the thing is." And I began, "You must know, 
my lord, that it is in the nature of fire to ascend, and, 


therefore, I can be sure that this Medusa's head will 
succeed perfectly ; on the other hand, as it is not in 
its nature to descend, and I have to force it down six 
cubits by an ingenious device, it must be evident to 
your Excellency that it is impossible for the foot to 
come out. But I can remodel it easily." "And 
why," returned the Duke, "did you not think of 
some contrivance by which the foot would come out 
as you say the head will ? " " I should have had to 
make a much larger furnace," I answered, " with a 
conduit-pipe as thick as my leg ; and all that weight 
of molten metal might then have run down far 
enough. My pipe, which is six cubits long to the 
foot, as I have said, is no thicker than two fingers. 
But it was not worth while making a bigger one, for 
I shall touch up the defective parts later. But when 
the mould is more than half full, as I hope, from the 
middle upwards, the fire will mount according to its 
nature, and this head of Perseus and that of the 
Medusa will come out to perfection ; and Df this you 
may be assured." When I had stated all these sound 
arguments, and endless others besides, which it would 
take too long for me to write down, the Duke shook 
his head, and left me without a word. 

Ixxv. By my own efforts I regained tranquillity of 
mind, and chased away those thoughts which every 
now and then would rise up before me, bringing 
bitter tears of regret to my eyes that ever I had left 
France. True, I had come to Florence, my dear 
fatherland, with the sole purpose of aiding my six 
nieces ; but I saw this good deed had been the be- 
ginning of great ill for me. Yet all the same I 
looked forward to the time when, my Perseus finished, 
all my troubles should be turned to high delight and 
to glorious good. 

And so I took heart again, and with all the resources 
of my body and my purse — though I had little enough 
money left — I set about procuring several loads of 
o 405 


pine from the pine woods of Serristori, near Monte 
Lupo. While I was waiting for these, I covered my 
Perseus with the clay I had got ready several months 
before, in order that it might be well seasoned. When 
I had made its " tunic " of clay — for so is it called in 
our art — and had most carefully armed and girt it 
with iron, I began to draw off the wax by a slow fire 
through the various vent-holes I had made. (The more 
of these you have, the better will your moulds fill.) 
When this was done, I built up round the mould of 
my Perseus a funnel-shaped furnace of bricks, arranged 
one above the other, so as to leave numerous openings 
for the fire to breathe through. Then very gradually 
I laid the wood on, and kept up the fire for two days 
and two nights on end. After I had drawn off all the 
wax, and the mould had been properly baked, I set 
to work at once to dig a hole to sink the thing in, 
attending to all the strictest rules of the great art. 
This done, I raised the mould with the utmost care 
by means of windlasses and strong ropes to an upright 
position ; and suspended it a cubit above the level of 
the furnace, paying attention that it hung exactly over 
the middle of the pit. Then gently, gently I let it 
down to the bottom of the furnace, sparing no pains 
to settle it securely there. This difficult job over, I 
set about propping it up with the earth I had dug 
out of the hole ; and as I built up the earth, I made 
vent-holes, that is, little pipes of terra-cotta such as 
are used for drains and things of that kind. Then 
I saw that it was quite firm, and that this way of 
banking it up and putting conduits in their proper 
places was likely to be successful. It was evident 
also that my workmen understood my mode of work- 
ing, which was very different from that of any of the 
other masters in my profession. Sure, therefore, that 
I could trust them, I gave my attention to the furnace, 
which I had filled up with pigs of copper and pieces 
of bronze, laid one on top of the other, according to 


the rules of the craft — that is, not pressing closelv 
one on the other, but arranged so that the flames 
could make their way freely about them ; for in this 
manner the metal is more quickly affected by the 
heat and liquefied. Then in great excitement I 
ordered them to light the furnace. They piled on 
the pine logs ; and between the unctuous pine resin 
and the well-contrived draught of the furnace, the fire 
burned so splendidly that I had to feed it now on one 
side and now on the other. The effort was almost 
intolerable, yet I forced myself to keep it up. 

On top of all this the shop took fire, and we feared 
lest the roof should fall upon us. Then, too, from 
the garden the rain and the wind blew in with such 
chill gusts as to cool the furnace. All this fighting 
for so many hours with adverse circumstances, forcing 
myself to a labour such as even my robust health could 
not stand, ended in a one-day fever of an indescribable 
severity. There was nothing for it but to fling 
myself on my bed, and I did so very ill -content. 
But first I appealed to my men — there were about 
ten or more helping me — master -founders, hand- 
labourers, peasants, and the workmen of my own 
shop. Among the last was Bernardino Mannellini 
of Mugello, who had been my pupil for several years. 
To him I said, after begging the goodwill of all the 
rest, "My dear Bernardino, see that you attend to 
everything I have taught you ; and make all the haste 
you can, for the metal will soon be ready. You 
cannot make a mistake ; the good fellows here will 
hurry up with the channels, and with these two 
crooks you can surely draw back the plugs. Then 
I know for certain my mould will fill beautifully. 
I feel worse than I ever did since I came into the 
world ; and I am sure I shall be dead in a few hours." 
So, most ill-content, I left them and went to bed. 

Ixxvi. As soon as I was in bed I ordered my servant 
girls to take food and drink to all the men in the 


shop; and then I said to them, "By to-morrow 
morning I shall be dead." They did their best to 
put heart into me, saying that my sickness would 
pass over, and that it only arose from over-fatigue. 
Thus for two hours I fought the fever ; but it went 
on rising all the time, so that I never stopped wailing 
that I was about to die. Now the woman who 
looked after all my household was Mona Fiore da 
Castel del Rio ; and a cleverer woman was never born, 
nor a more devoted. Though now she went on 
scolding me for losing heart, yet all the same she 
tended me as affectionately as possible. Neverthe- 
less, for all her brave heart, she could not keep her 
tears from flowing as she saw me overcome by such 
terrible pain and depression. Yet she hid her weep- 
ing from me so far as she could. While I lay there 
in this terrible distress, I saw a man come into my 
room, whose body was twisted like a capital S ; and he 
spoke in the sad and grievous tones of those who 
proclaim to doomed men that their last hour has 
tolled. " O Benvenuto ! '* he said, " your work is 
spoiled ; and no power on earth can save it now." 
Hardly had I heard the miserable creature's words, 
than I set up such a terrible cry as might have been 
heard in the heaven of fire ; and rising from my bed, 
I took my clothes and began to dress ; and I dealt 
kicks and blows to the servant girls, the boy, and 
every one who came to help me, wailing the while, 
" Ah, traitors ! jealous monsters ! this is a malicious 
plot. But I swear by God that I shall come at the 
truth of it ; and before I die I shall give such proof to 
the world of my strong hand as shall make more than 
one man stand in wonder ! " When I had dressed, 
I hurried to the shop fuming with rage ; and there 
I saw all the men I had left in the best of spirits 
standing dazed and at their wits' end. I broke into 
their stupor with, " Wake up ! Listen to me ! 
Since youVe been either too great fools or too great 


knaves to do as I told you, attend to me now. I am 
here in front of my work. And not a word from 
any of you ; for it's help, not advice, that will serve 
me now." On this up spoke Maestro Alessandro 
Lastricati, " Listen, Benvenuto ! You are taking in 
hand a thing which defies the laws of art, and cannot 
be done, whatever means you try." At that I turned 
on him in such a fury, and with murder in my eye, 
that he and all the others too cried out, " Come on ! 
Give your orders ! We are ready for all you may 
command, while there is any breath left in our bodies." 
But I believe they uttered these soothing words only 
because they thought I was on the point of falling 
down dead. Then I hurried to the furnace, and 
found the metal had all coagulated, or, as we say, 
"caked." I ordered two labourers to go to Capretta 
the butcher's opposite, for a load of young oak logs, 
which had been dry for more than a year, and which 
Madonna Ginevra, Capretta's wife, had already 
offered me. As soon as I got the first armfuls, I set 
about filling the ash-pot below the furnace. Now 
oak of this kind makes a fiercer fire than any other 
sort of wood, and that is why alder or pine is used in 
the founding of gun-metal, for which the fire should 
be slow. Ah, then, you should have seen how the 
cake of metal began to run, and how it glowed ! 
Meanwhile, too, I forced it to flow along the channels, 
while I sent the rest of the men on the roof to look 
after the fire, which had broken out again more 
fiercely now the furnace was burning with such fury ; 
and towards the garden side I made them pile up 
planks and rugs and old hangings to prevent the rain 
from pouring in. 

Ixxvii. When I had mastered all this confusion and 
trouble, I shouted now to this man, now to that, 
bidding them fetch and carry for me; and the solidi- 
fied metal beginning to melt just then, the whole 
band were so excited to obedience, that each man 


did the work of three. Then I had them fetch 
half a pig of pewter, weighing about sixty pounds, 
and this I threw right in the middle of the soHd 
metal in the furnace. And what with the wood I 
had put in beneath, and all the stirring with iron 
rods and bars, in a little while the mass grew liquid. 
When I saw I had raised the dead, in despite of all 
those ignorant sceptics, such vigour came back to 
me, that the remembrance of my fever and the fear of 
death passed away from me utterly. Then suddenly 
we heard a great noise, and saw a brilliant flash of fire, 
just as if a thunderbolt had rushed into being in our 
very midst. Every man of us was dazed by this 
prodigious and terrifying event, and I still more than 
the rest. Only when the great rumble and the 
flashing flame had passed, did we dare look each other 
in the face. Then I saw that the lid of the furnace 
had blown open, so that the bronze was running 
over. In the same instant I had every mouth of the 
mould open and the plugs closed. But perceiving 
that the metal did not run as freely as it should, I 
came to the conclusion that the intense heat had 
consumed the alloy. So I bade them fetch every 
pewter dish and porringer and plate I had in the 
house, nearly two hundred in all ; and part of them I 
threw, one after another, into the channels, and put 
the rest into the furnace. Then they saw my bronze 
was really melted and filling up my mould, and gave 
me the readiest and most cheerful help and obedience. 
Now I was here ; now I was there, giving orders or 
putting my own hand to the work, while I cried, " O 
God, who in Thy limitless strength didst rise from 
the dead, and glorious didst ascend to Heaven . . . ! " 
In an instant my mould filled up ; and I knelt down 
and thanked God with all my heart ; then turned to 
a plate of salad lying on a bench there, and with 
splendid appetite ate and drank, and all my gang of 
men along with me. After that, as the day was but 


two hours oft, I betook myself to bed, sound of body 
and in good heart ; and, as if I had never known an 
ache in my life, sank gently to my rest. That good 
serving woman of mine, without my saying a word 
to her about it, had cooked a fine fat capon ; and 
when I rose from my bed near dinner-time, she met 
me with a cheery face, and cried, " Oh, so this is 
the man who thought he was dying ? I do believe 
that the blows and the kicks you gave us last night, 
when you were so furious that one would have said 
you were possessed of the devil, so scared that terrible 
fever that it ran away, lest it should be belaboured too." 
Then all my poor family breathed once more after 
their fright and their formidable labours ; and off* they 
went to buy pots and pans of earthenware instead of 
the pewter vessels I had cast into the furnace. After 
which we sat down to dinner in the best of spirits ; and 
in all my life I never remember eating with a gladder 
heart nor with a better appetite. After dinner all 
my helpers came to see me. They did nothing but 
congratulate each other, and thank God for the way 
things had turned out, and tell me they had seen 
things done which other masters held, to be beyond 
any one's powers. And I was proud, for I thought 
myself a very clever fellow — nor did I hide my 
opinion of myself; and putting my hand into my 
pocket, I paid every man to his full content. 

But that scoundrel, my mortal enemy, Messer 
Pierfrancesco Ricci, the Duke's major-domo, ferreted 
out the whole story of the affair. And the two 
men whom I suspected of having caused the caking 
of my bronze, told him I was no man ; that of a 
surety I was a great demon, for I had done what 
by mere art could not be achieved. And all sorts of 
other prodigies they related of me, which would 
indeed have taxed a devil's powers. As they made 
the thing out to be much more astounding than it 
had been in reality, the major-domo wrote to the 


Duke, who was at Pisa, adding to their tale still 
more fearful and marvellous inventions of his own. 

Ixxviii. For two days I let my work cool, and 
then uncovered a little bit at a time. First of all I 
found that, thanks to the vents, the head of Medusa 
had come out splendidly — had I not told the Duke 
that it is in the nature of fire to ascend ? Then I 
went on uncovering the rest, and found the other 
head, that of Perseus, was just as perfect 5 at which I 
wondered more ; for, as you can see, it is much lower 
than that of Medusa. I had placed the mouths of 
the mould above the head and on the shoulders of 
the Perseus, and now I found that this head had 
taken all the remaining bronze in my furnace. 
Wonderful to relate, there was nothing left in the 
mouth of the channel, and yet there had been 
enough for my purpose. This appeared to me so 
marvellous — indeed, nothing short of a miracle — that 
the whole operation seemed as if it had been guided 
and brought to a happy end by Almighty God. 
Luck still followed me as I uncovered farther ; every 
thing I found had come out successfully till I 
came to the right foot on which the figure rests. 
There I found the heel perfect, and on further 
examination evidently the whole foot as well. On 
the one hand I rejoiced ; on the other I was half 
annoyed, but only because I had said to the Duke 
that it could not happen so. However, when all 
was disclosed, I found the toes and a little portion 
above them were wanting, so that about half the 
foot would have to be added. Though this would 
give me a little extra work, I was glad, nevertheless ; 
for I could show the Duke that I understood my 
own business. A larger part of the foot, indeed, had 
come out than I looked for ; but the reason was that, 
from various causes, the metal had been subjected to a 
greater heat than is ordained by the laws of the art ; 
and then, too, I had thrown in extra alloy in the shape 


of my pewter household vessels, as I have told you — 
a thing nobody ever thought of doing before. 

Now seeing the great success of my work, I set 
off at once for Pisa to see the Duke. He received 
me as kindly as possible, and so did the Duchess ; 
and though their major-domo had told them the 
whole story, their Excellencies thought it still more 
prodigious and astounding when they heard it from 
my own lips. When I came to the foot of the 
Perseus ; and related how, just as I had warned his 
Excellency before, it had not come out, I could see 
his wonder grow every moment, and he told the 
Duchess how, indeed, I had foretold this. Perceiv- 
ing that my lord and my lady were in good humour 
with me, I begged the Duke to let me go to Rome. 
He consented with the greatest kindness, bidding 
me return ere long to finish his Perseus ; and gave 
me letters of recommendation to his ambassador, 
Averardo Serristori. These were the first years of 
Pope Giulio de' Monti's reign. 

Ixxix. Before my departure I instructed my men 
to go on with the work in the way I had shown 
them. Now my reason for going away was this. I 
had made a life-size bronze bust of Bindo, the son of 
Antonio Altoviti, and had sent it to him at Rome. 
He had placed it in his study, which was very richly 
adorned with antiques and other fine things ; but it 
was not a room suitable for showing sculpture or 
paintings, for the windows were under the level of 
these ; so that the light coming from beneath did 
not show them to such advantage as if it had been 
better arranged. Now one day, as it happened, 
Bindo standing at his door, saw Michel Agnolo 
Buonarroti the sculptor pass by, and begged him to 
do him the honour of coming in to sec his study ; 
and he led the way. As soon as he was within and 
had looked round, Michel Agnolo asked, "Who is 
the master who has done so good a likeness of you, 

°' 413 


and in so fine a style ? I assure you that head 
pleases me as much, nay, rather better than those 
antiques ; and yet one can see there are good things 
amongst them. But if these windows were above 
instead of underneath, your works of art would show 
far better ; and your portrait, even among these other 
fine works, would hold its own." As soon as 
Michel Agnolo had left Bindo, he wrote me the 
kindest of letters to this effect : — My Benvenuto^ for 
years I have known you to be the greatest goldsmith 
ever heard of-, and from this time I shall look on you as 
a sculptor of like merit. You must know that Messer 
Bindo Altoviti showed me a bust of him in bronze^ and 
told me it was from your hand. It pleased me greatly ; 
but I was vexed that it had been placed in a bad 
light ; for if it were properly lighted^ it would prove 
itself to be the masterpiece it really is. The letter, 
besides, was full of loving words and compliments to 
me. Now before I left for Rome I showed it to 
the Duke, who read it with a friendly feeling towards 
the writer, and said to me, " Benvenuto, if you 
will write to him, and persuade him to return to 
Florence, I'll make him one of the Forty -eight." 
So I wrote to him most affectionately, promising 
him in the Duke's name a hundred times more than 
I had authority for. But that there might be no 
mistake in this, I showed it to the Duke before I 
sealed it ; saying to his most illustrious Excellency, 
" Perhaps, my lord, I have promised him too much." 
But he answered, " He is worthy of more than you 
have named ; and I will do more for him than that.'* 
To this letter Michel Agnolo never made any answer, 
and it was plain to me that the Duke was very angry 
with him. 

Ixxx. When I got to Rome I went to lodge in 

Bindo Altoviti's house. He told me at once how 

he had shown my bronze bust of him to Michel 

Agnolo, who had greatly praised it, and about this we 



talked for a long time. Now Bindo had twelve 
hundred gold crowns of mine, part of a sum of five 
thousand he had lent to the Duke, four thousand 
being his and the rest mine, but in his name. For 
this loan I received such interest as fell to my share. 
This was the beginning of my setting to work on 
his portrait. When he saw it in wax, he sent me 
fifty golden crowns by a notary of his household, 
Ser Giuliano Paccalli. But I did not wish to take 
this money, and sent it back by the messenger, 
afterwards saying to Bindo, " It is enough for me if 
you invest that money of mine well for me, so that 
I may gain something on it." Now I saw that he 
was in an ill-humour with me ; for instead of treating 
me with kindness, as formerly, his manner was very 
cold to me ; and though he kept me in his house, he 
was never frank with me, but remained morose. 
Still, the business was settled in a few words. I got 
nothing for the making of the bust, nor for the 
bronze ; and we agreed that he should keep my 
money for me at fifteen per cent, during my natural 

Ixxxi. I put ofF no time after my arrival in Rome 
in' going to kiss the Pope's feet. While I was 
speaking with him, in came Messer Averardo Serris- 
tori, the ambassador from our Duke. I had sub- 
mitted some propositions to his Holiness j and I 
believe we should have easily come to an under- 
standing, in which case I should have willingly returned 
to Rome, considering what were the great difficulties 
I encountered in Florence. But I found that the 
ambassador had put a spoke in my wheel. Then I 
went to see Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, and repeated 
to him the message from the Duke, which I had 
already written to him from Florence. He answered 
that he was employed on the building of St. Peter's, 
and that therefore he could not leave. But I argued 
that since he had made up his mind on the plan of 


the building, he could leave the work to be carried 
out by his pupil Urbino, who would obey him 
exactly ; and I made him various other promises in 
the Duke's name. Thereupon he looked me straight 
in the face, and with something of a grim smile, said, 
"And how are you pleased with him yourself?" 
Although I protested that I was well content, and 
that I was very well treated, he let me see that he 
was aware of the greater part of my troubles ; and he 
told me decisively that it would be difficult for him 
to leave. Still I persisted that the best thing he 
could do was to return to his native city, which was 
governed by a most just Prince, than whom a greater 
lover of art had never been born into the world. 
As I have said, he had with him a lad from Urbino, 
who had been of his household for many years, more 
as a serving-man than anything else ; as was plain 
enough, for he knew nothing of his master's art. 
Now while I was pressing all my good arguments 
on Michel Agnolo, so that he had no answer to them 
on the spot, he turned to Urbino to ask what he 
thought about it ; whereupon Urbino cried out loud, 
in his countrified way, "I'll never part from my 
Messer Michel Agnolo till I've flayed him or he has 
flayed me." I couldn't help laughing at these silly 
words. Then, without a word of farewell, I went 
away crestfallen. 

Ixxxii. After making that wretched bargain with 
Bindo Altoviti, losing my bronze head and giving 
my money into his keeping for life, I knew what the 
faith of merchants was like ; and it was in very low 
spirits I returned to Florence. Without delay I 
went to the Palace to see the Duke ; but he was at 
Castello, beyond Ponte a Rifredi. I found Messer 
Pierfrancesco Ricci, the major-domo, in the palace ; 
and when I went up to him to salute him, as courtesy 
demands, he cried out in the greatest astonishment, 
" Oh, you're back again, are you ? " And he still 


looked as if he could not get over his surprise. Then 
he clapped his hands as he said, "The Duke is at 
Castello," turned his back on me, and made off. I 
did not know, nor could I imagine, why the brute 
should have behaved so strangely. But I made my 
way to Castello ; and as soon as I entered the garden 
I saw the Duke in the distance. When he caught 
sight of me, he showed every sign of surprise, and 
gave me to understand I might go about my business. 
Now I had been relying on his Excellency showing 
me as much kindness as before I went away — nay, 
more ; but when I saw him in this strange temper, I 
returned to Florence very ill pleased. There I set 
to work again ; but while I was striving to complete 
my statue, I vainly tried to guess what the Duke's 
coldness could have arisen from. And I could not 
help noticing that Messer Sforza and some other of 
his Excellency's most intimate friends looked at me 
in a peculiar manner. So I asked Messer Sforza 
what it meant, and he replied, with a smile, " Ben- 
venuto, youVe only to think of being an honest 
man. That's all that concerns you." 

A few days after I was granted an audience of the 
Duke, who greeted me with a kind of sulky civility, 
and asked me what I had been doing at Rome. As 
well as I could I kept up the conversation, telling 
him about the bronze bust I had made for Bindo 
Altoviti, and all that followed. When I saw he was 
listening to me very attentively, I went on to tell 
him about Michel Agnolo Buonarroti. Thereupon 
he showed some signs of anger ; but Urbino's words 
to his master made him laugh. Then he said, 
" Well, so much the worse for him ! " And then I 
went away. 

For sure Scr Pierfrancesco, the major-domo, had 
done me an ill turn with the Duke ; but it did not 
succeed. For God, the Friend to truth, saved mc, 
as He hath ever done to this day, from a host of 



dangers, and as I hope He ever may save me to the 
last hours of my troubled life. And so I go boldly 
forward, armed but with His strength, nor fear the 
storms of fortune, nor my perverse stars. I only 
entreat that He keep me in His grace. 

Ixxxiii. Now listen, gentle reader, to a terrible 
tale I have to tell. I made all haste possible to 
finish my statue ; but I used to spend every evening 
in the Wardrobe of the Duke, helping the gold- 
smiths who were working there for his Excellency, 
mostly after designs which I had made. And as I 
saw that the Duke liked to watch me at work and 
to talk with me, I made up my mind to go there 
during the day sometimes. So on one of these 
occasions he came in as usual, and the more willingly 
that he knew I was there. He began to converse 
with me very pleasantly on a great many different 
subjects ; and I answered vivaciously, and so amused 
him that he was in a better temper than I had ever 
seen him in before. Suddenly one of his secretaries 
entered and spoke a word in his ear, as if on a matter 
of great importance. Then the Duke got up, and 
withdrew with the Secretary to another room. 
Meanwhile the Duchess had sent to inquire what 
his Excellency was doing ; and her page went 
back to tell her, "The Duke is talking and laughing 
with Benvenuto, and he is in the best of humours.'* 
When she heard this, she came to the Wardrobe ; 
but not finding the Duke, she sat down beside us, 
and looked on for a while as we worked. Then in 
the pleasantest manner she turned to me, and showed 
me a necklace of large pearls — very rare they were, 
in fact — and asked me what I thought of them. I 
repHed that they were very beautiful. Then her 
Excellency said, " I want the Duke to buy them for 
me ; therefore, my Benvenuto, say all you possibly 
can to him in their praise.'* But at these words, I 
spoke out my real opinion to the Duchess, saying 


with the utmost respect, "My lady, I thought this 
necklace of pearls was yours already ; in which case 
I might have refrained from uttering what was in 
my mind to say, nay, what I must say, now I know 
that they do not belong to your Excellency. There- 
fore, I would have you know that my trained eye 
sees so many defects in these pearls, that I should 
never advise your buying them." To this she 
replied, "The merchant will take six thousand 
crowns ; if the necklace had none of these slight 
flaws, it would be worth more than twelve thousand." 
But I went on to say that, were it perfect in quality 
and condition, I should never advise any one to go as 
high as five thousand crowns ; for pearls are not 
jewels, they are but fishes* bones ; and in time must 
lose their value. Whereas diamonds, rubies, emeralds, 
and sapphires, never grow old ; all these four arc 
real jewels, and worth buying. At this the Duchess 
was somewhat piqued ; but she persisted, " I am 
determined to have these pearls ; and so I beg you 
to take them to the Duke, and say all you can 
think of in their praise ; and if you have to tell 
some little lies about them, do so to serve me, and 
you will have no reason to repent it." Now I have 
always been the greatest friend of truth and the 
enemy of lies ; but such pressure being put upon 
me, and unwilling to lose the favour of so great a 
princess, I took those accursed pearls, and in a very 
ill humour went with them to the other room to 
which the Duke had retired. As soon as he saw 
me, he called out, "Well, Benvenuto, and what are 
you about ? " So I showed him the pearls, and said, 
"My lord, I have come to let you see an exquisite 
necklace of pearls. Most rare they are, and really 
worthy of your Excellency j and I do not believe 
that eighty pearls could ever be strung together to 
better advantage. So buy them, my lord, for they 
are truly marvellous." But he answered me at 


once, " I will not buy them ; for they are neither so 
rare nor so beautiful as you say. I have seen them, 
and I don't like them." Then I replied. " Forgive 
me, my lord, these pearls far surpass any which were 
ever strung together before for a necklace." The 
Duchess had got up in the meanwhile, and was 
standing behind a door listening to every word. So 
when I had gone on to say a thousand things more in 
their praise than I am writing here, the Duke turned 
an indulgent face on me, and said, "O Benvenuto, 
my friend, I know that you understand all about these 
things ; and if the pearls were as fine and rare as 
you say, I should not be unwilling to buy them, 
whether to give pleasure to the Duchess, or for the 
sake of possessing them ; for such things I am always 
in need of, not so much for her use, as for that of 
my sons and daughters." But as I had begun to lie, 
I now went on lying with still greater audacity, 
though very plausibly, trusting to the Duchess to 
support me at the proper time. I was to have 
more than two hundred crowns for doing the 
business — so the Duchess had signified to me ; but 
I was quite determined not to touch a penny of it, 
so as to be on the safe side, and that the Duke might 
never think I had done it from greed. Once more 
he spoke in the kindliest tones to me, and said, " I 
know that you understand all about these things. 
So now on your faith as an honest man, which I 
have always thought you to be, tell me the truth." 
Then I blushed hotly, and my eyes grew wet with 
tears, as I said, "My lord, if I tell your most 
illustrious Excellency the truth, the Duchess will 
become my deadly enemy. I shall be forced to 
depart from Florence, and my enemies will im- 
mediately pour scorn on my Perseus, which I have 
held out to the expectations of your Excellency's 
most noble school. So now I recommend myself to 
your Excellency." 



Ixxxiv. When the Duke learnt that all I had said 
I had been forced to say, he comforted me. " If you 
trust in me, fear nothing." But again I answered, 
"Alas, my lord, how can this be kept from the 
Duchess ? " Whereat the Duke swore with uplifted 
hand, "Consider all you have said as buried in a 
diamond casket." Since he had honoured me by 
such words, I told him at once the truth about the 
pearls, so far as I knew it ; that they were not worth 
much more than two thousand crowns. Now the 
Duchess thought we had made an end of talking, 
for we were speaking as softly as possible ; so she 
came forward and said, " My lord, be so good as to 
buy me this necklace of pearls, for I have the greatest 
craving for it ; and your Benvenuto has told me he 
never saw a finer one." Then the Duke replied, 
" I do not wish to buy it." " Why will not my 
lord please me by buying it ? " " Because I don't 
want to throw money away." But the Duchess 
insisted, "Oh, why should it be throwing money 
away, since your Benvenuto, in whom you have, and 
rightly, so much confidence, told me that if you paid 
even more than three thousand crowns, it would be 
a very good bargain?" The Duke replied, "My 
ladv, my Benvenuto has told me that were I to buy 
it, I should be throwing money away j for the pearls 
are not round, neither are they all of a size, and 
some of them are old ; and if you don't believe it, 
look at this one, and this other ; examine them all. 
No, no, they are not my affair ! " At this the 
Duchess gave me the angriest look, and shaking her 
head at me in a threatening fashion, she left the 
room ; and I was much inclined to be off and out of 
Italy without delay. But as my Perseus was nearly 
finished, I was unwilling to leave without exhibiting 
it publicly. Yet consider, every man of you, what 
a cruel position I was now in ! The Duke had 
ordered the doorkeepers — for I heard him — to give 


me free entrance to his Excellency's apartments 
whenever I came to seek him ; while the Duchess 
now gave counter -orders to them that when I 
presented myself at the palace, they were to chase 
me away. So now as soon as they saw me, they 
would come outside and hustle me off; but they 
took care the Duke should not see them ; for if he 
caught sight of me before these rascals, either he 
called out to me, or made me a sign I was to come 
to him. 

Well, now the Duchess sent for Bernardone the 
broker, a man of whose meanness and worthlessness 
I had heard her many a time complain, and took 
counsel of him as she had done before of me. " My 
lady," he repHed, "leave the affair to me." So this 
scoundrel presented himself to the Duke with the 
necklace in his hands. As soon as the Duke caught 
sight of him, he told him to be off; whereupon the 
rascal raised that great voice of his, which came 
through his big nose for all the world like the bray- 
ing of an ass, and said, " I pray you, my lord, buy 
this necklace for the poor lady, who is dying to have 
it ; nor can she live without it." And he went on 
braying out his silly words, till the Duke lost patience, 
and said, " Get out of this, I say ; else, come here 
and puff your cheeks out." Now this rascally 
buffoon knew quite well what was meant ; for if by 
puffing out his cheeks, or by singing La Bella 
Franceschina^ he could persuade the Duke to the 
purchase of the pearls, he would gain the good graces 
of the Duchess, and his commission into the bargain, 
which would come to several hundreds of crowns. 
And so he puffed out his cheeks ; and the Duke gave 
him several sound smacks ; and to be rid of him, did 
it rather harder than usual. Not only did his cheeks 
get very red with this sound smacking, but the tears 
came into his eyes as well. Nevertheless, he said, 
*' Here, my lord, behold your faithful servant, who 


merely tries to do his duty, and is willing to suffer 
any disgrace, if only that poor lady have her will." 
Then the Duke, tired of the rascal, either to make 
up for the slaps he had given him, or for love of the 
Duchess, whom his Excellency was ever anxious to 
please, called out, " Get out of this, and a murrain 
on you ! Go and make the bargain, for I am 
content to do whatever the Duchess may desire." 
Now look you at the rage of evil fortune against a 
poor man, and how shamelessly she favours a gross 
rascal ! I lost all the good-will of the Duchess, 
which was well-nigh reason enough for my losing 
the Duke's too j and he got that big commission, 
and their favour besides. So it is not enough to be 
just an honest man of talent. 

Ixxxv. It was now the war with Siena broke out i 
and the Duke, desiring to fortify Florence, dis- 
tributed the different gates among his sculptors and 
architects. To me was given the Prato gate, as well 
as the Httle gate of the Arno, which is on the road 
leading to the mills. The Cavaliere Bandinelio had 
the San Friano gate ; Pasqualino d' Ancona that of 
San Pier Gattolini ; Giulian di Baccio d' Agnolo, 
the worker in wood, that of San Giorgio ; Particino, 
another carver in wood, the Santo Niccolo ; Fran- 
cesco da Sangallo the sculptor, called II Margolla, 
the gate of Santa Croce ; while to Giovan Battista, 
called II Tasso, was given the Pinti gate. Certain 
other bastions and gates were consigned to various 
engineers. I don't remember whom, nor does it 
matter here. The Duke, who had alwavs proved 
himself a man of keen intelligence, went all round 
the city himself j and when his Excellency had 
thoroughly examined everything, and made his plans, 
he called for Lattanzio Gorini, a paymaster of his. 
Now Lattanzio took a great interest in this art ; and 
so the Duke ordered him to make various designs for 
the fortification of the gates, and afterwards, he sent 


to each of us the plan for his particular one. Well 
I looked at mine, and saw that it was not the thing 
at all ; that it was, indeed, very incorrect. I went 
at once to find the Duke with the plan in my hand, 
purposing to point out to him its defects. But no 
sooner had I begun to speak than he turned on me in 
a fury, saying, " Benvenuto, I'll yield to you in the 
making of statues ; but in this business you must give 
in to me. So go and carry out the plan I have given 
you." These overbearing words I answered as 
meekly as possible, saying, "My lord, even in re- 
gard to the best methods of sculpture I have learnt 
something from your Excellency j for we have often 
had discussions on the subject ; so in the matter of 
the fortification of the city — a far more important 
affair than statuary I admit — I entreat your Excel- 
lency to deign to listen to me. By talking it over 
with you I shall best learn how I should serve you." 
So by these conciliatory words I persuaded him to 
discuss the matter with me. Then I proved to him 
by weighty and clear arguments that the designs 
given me were faulty j and his Excellency said, 
"Well, go and make one yourself, and I'll see what 
I think of it." So I drew out two plans for the 
fortification of the two gates, according to good 
methods, and took them to him. He knew the true 
from the false, and said to me amiably, " Go and do 
it in your own way then ; I am quite pleased "; and 
I set to the task without delay. 

Ixxxvi. Now on guard at the Prato gate was a 
Lombard captain. A formidable man he was, of 
great size, brutal in his speech, very presumptuous, 
and extremely ignorant. He at once began to in- 
quire what I was after ; whereupon with the utmost 
courtesy I showed him my plans, and was at much 
pains to explain to him my method. Then the un- 
couth brute shook his head, writhed his body about, 
first standing on one foot and then on the other. 


Pulling his long moustaches — they were huge — and 
drawing his cap down over his eyes, he muttered, "The 
devil ! I can't make out a word of this business ! " 
In the end the brute annoyed me ; so I said, "Well, 
leave it to me then, for I do understand it"; and I 
turned my back on him and was going about my 
business. Then he shook his head at me threaten- 
ingly, and with his left hand on his sword hilt, he 
raised the point suggestively, and said, " Hulloa, 
master ! you want to pick a quarrel, do you ? " At 
that I turned on him fiercely, for he had put my 
blood up, and cried, "It would be a much easier 
matter to run you through than to make the bastion 
for this gate." And at the word we both put our 
hands to our swords ; but before we had unsheathed 
them, a crowd of honest men came up, some of them 
Florentine citizens and others hangers-on of the 
Court. The majority of them cried out on him, 
saying his was the fault, and that I was a man to 
make him repent of it — and woe to him if the Duke 
got wind of the matter ! So then he went about 
his business, and I set to work on my bastion. 

When I had done my work there, I made my way 
to the other little Arno gate, where I found a captain 
from Cesena, the most courteous gentleman I have 
ever met with in his profession. He looked like 
a gentle-mannered damosel ; but upon occasion he 
was the bravest, even the most relentless of men. 
This charming person took such an interest in what 
I was doing, that at times 1 was overcome with shy- 
ness. He was so eager to understand my methods, 
that I explained them to him with the utmost polite- 
ness. To be brief, we were rivals in courtesy ; and I 
succeeded far better with this bastion than with the 

My bastions were almost finished when an in- 
cursion of Pier Strozzi's mob so terrified the Prato folk 
that they all cleared out ; and with all their belongings 



piled up on their carts, they made their way into the 
city. They came in such numbers, their carts 
knocking up against each other on the road, that 
when I saw all the confusion, I told the warders of 
the gates to look out that no such accident should 
happen as had taken place at the gates of Turin, 
when, there being occasion to lower the portcullis, it 
would not work. So ours might stick fast upon one 
of the carts. That great brute of a captain hearing 
my words, turned on me with a torrent of insolence ; 
and I gave him back as good, so that we were like to 
come to a worse quarrel than before. However, we 
were kept apart. Then having finished my bastions, 
I touched a very pretty number of crowns I had not 
looked for ; and very glad I was of them, too. But 
it was with great pleasure I went back to my 

Ixxxvii. About this time certain antiquities were 
found in the neighbourhood of Arezzo, among 
them the Chimera, the bronze lion which can be 
seen in the apartment adjoining the great hall of the 
Palace. Besides the Chimera, there were also found a 
number of little bronze statuettes, covered with earth 
and rust, and each of them wanting something, head 
or hands or feet. The Duke took great pleasure in 
cleaning them himself with goldsmiths' chisels. 
Now one day I had occasion to speak to his Ex- 
cellency ; and while we were talking together he 
handed me a little hammer, with which I struck the 
chisel the Duke was holding ; and it was so we 
cleared off the earth and rust from the little figures. 
Several evenings we spent like this, after which he 
ordered me to supply the missing portions of the 
statuettes j and so full was his head of these trifles 
that he made me work on them by day as well ; and 
if I was late in putting in an appearance, he would 
send for me. More than once I gave him to under- 
stand that if I left my Perseus during the day, 


various misfortunes might happen ; and the chief of 
these, and the one I was most afraid of was, that his 
Excellency might grow impatient at the long time 
I took over the work — a thing that did indeed come 
to pass. Then, besides, I had several workmen ; and 
when I was not at hand, they were apt either to ruin 
my work, or to do as little as possible. So the Duke 
agreed that I need only go to him from twenty-four 
of the clock. By this time I had made myself so 
agreeable to his Excellency, that when I came to 
him in the evening he heaped more and more kind- 
ness upon me. In these days they were building the 
new rooms towards the Lions ; and his Excellency 
desiring to have a more private place of his own, 
arranged a little cabinet for himself in the newly 
built apartments, and gave me orders to come there 
by a private way through his wardrobe, across the 
stage of the great Hall, and then by various little 
dark holes and corners. But in a few days the 
Duchess stopped my passage this way, locking all the 
doors of access. So every evening I came to the 
Palace, I had to wait a great while because the 
Duchess was privately occupied in these ante- 
chambers through which I had to pass ; and as she 
was of weak health, I never once came without in- 
conveniencing her. On this account, as well as for 
other reasons, she took such an ill will to me that 
she could not bear the sight of me. Still in spite of 
being greatly hindered and subjected to annoyance, 
I persisted in going. The Duke had given the most 
precise orders that the very instant I knocked at the 
doors, they were to open to me, and to let me go wher- 
ever I liked without a word. Thus it came about that 
sometimes, when I came in softly and unexpectedly 
to these private rooms, I greatly inconvenienced the 
Duchess. Then she would burst out into a fury of 
rage, so that I shook in my shoes, and she would cry, 
"Will you ever have done cobbling these little 



figures ? I declare your constant passing to and fro 
is becoming intolerable ! " I answered in all meek- 
ness, " Lady, my only patron, my sole desire is to 
serve you faithfully and with the utmost obedience. 
But this work which the Duke has ordered me to do, 
will go on for some months still. Therefore, your 
Excellency, tell me if you wish me to come here no 
more. If so, I shall certainly not come, whoever 
calls me. Even were the Duke to summon me, I 
should say I was not well, and should never appear 
again." To this she replied, " I do not say you are 
not to come, and I am not bidding you disobey the 
Duke. But it seems to me as if this work of yours 
were never coming to an end." Now whether the 
Duke heard something of this, or whatever was the 
reason, he did just as before ; that is, he sent for me 
as soon as it was nearing twenty-four o'clock ; and 
the message I received was always, " Be sure not to 
fail, for the Duke expects you." And so for several 
evenings I went on coming, always meeting the 
same difficulty. But once, when I entered as usual, 
the Duke, who had perhaps been discussing private 
matters with the Duchess, turned on me in the greatest 
fury imaginable ; whereupon I was all of a tremble and 
was for withdrawing at once. But next moment he 
said, "Enter, Benvenuto my friend, and set about your 
work, and I shall be with you ere long." While I 
was going on my way, Don Garzia, a little child at 
the time, took me by the cloak and played me the 
prettiest baby tricks imaginable. The Duke looked 
on the while with delight, saying, "One can see 
that my boys and you are excellent friends." 

Ixxxviii. While I was engaged on these trifles, the 
Prince and Don Giovanni and Don Arnando and 
Don Garzia were always at my elbows ; and they 
would give me a nudge every now and then, when 
their father was not looking. I begged them for pity's 
sake to behave themselves. "We cannot," they 


replied. So I said, " Very well, what can't be done, 
won't be done. So come on ; *' whereupon the Duke 
and Duchess burst out laughing. /jUi/^ 

Another evening, when I had finished the four ' "*" 
little bronze figures, which arc attached to the base 
of my statue — ^I mean the Jupiter, Mercury, Minerva, 
and Danae with her little son Perseus at her feet — 
I had them brought into the room where I used to 
work, and set them up in a row, rather above the 
level of the eyes, so that they made a splendid effect. 
The Duke heard what I had done, and came in 
earlier than his wont. Now the person who told 
his Excellency had spoken of them in extrava- 
gant terms — calling them " finer than antiques," 
and so on. So the Duke came in with the Duchess, 
talking about my work in great good spirits. I 
rose on the instant, and went forward to meet them. 
He greeted me with his noble courtesy, and raising 
his right hand, in which he held a magnificent slip 
of a pear tree, he said, " Take this, my Benvenuto, 
and plant this pear tree in the garden of your house." 
Much pleased, I answered, " Oh, my lord, does your 
Excellency really mean me to plant it in the garden of 
my house ? " So he repeated, " In the garden of 
your house — your very own house. Do you under- 
stand ? " Then I thanked his Excellency and the 
Duchess, too, in my best manner. Afterwards they 
both sat down opposite the little figures ; and they 
stayed there talking of nothing else for more than 
two hours. Indeed, the Duchess was so delighted 
that she said to me, " I am very unwilling for these 
charming little statues to be lost in the pedestal down 
in the Piazza there, where they might only too 
easily be injured. I would fain have you set them 
up in one of my rooms, where they would be housed 
with all the respect their peculiar merits call for. I 
gave many excellent reasons for objecting to this 
plan ; but as I saw she had made up her mind I 


should not fix them to the pedestal — where now they 
are — I waited till next day ; and then about twenty- 
two of the clock I made my way to the Palace. I 
found that both the Duke and the Duchess had 
gone riding ; so I had the little statues brought down, 
and I soldered them to their appointed places on 
the pedestal, which was quite ready. Oh, what a 
rage the Duchess was in when she heard it ! Indeed, 
if it had not been for the Duke, who vigorously took 
my part, I should have come badly out of the affair ; 
and what with her vexation about the pearl necklace, 
and now this business, she determined to deprive the 
Duke of his little pleasure ; and so I went no more 
to work in his apartments. I soon found the same 
hindrances as before put in the way of my entering 
the palace. 

Ixxxix. I returned to the Loggia, where my 
Perseus had already been set up, and went on com- 
pleting it, but meeting always the same old difficulties 
— no money, and every kind of hindrance thrown in 
my way. Half of them might have overwhelmed a 
man of adamant. But I toiled on with my usual 
obstinacy ; and one morning when I had heard mass 
in San Piero Scheraggio, Bernardone, the broker, 
that incapable goldsmith, and, by the Duke's favour, 
purveyor to the Mint, passed me by. Hardly was he 
outside the door of the church, when the foul hog let 
out such a sound you might have heard it at San 
Miniato. " Pig ! " I cried, " coward, ass ! Is that 
the language of your filthy wits ? '* And I ran for a 
stick. He withdrew into the Mint ; and I stayed 
just inside my own door, stationing a little lad outside 
to sign to me when the pig should come out of hiding. 
But when I had waited a good while, I got weary ; and 
as my anger cooled off, I began to reflect that there is 
no bargaining about blows, and I might get into 
trouble if I thrashed him. So I made up my mind to 
have my revenge in another way. Now this happened 


nigh upon the feast of our Saint John, a day or two 
before it. So I made these four verses, and stuck 
them up in a place of retirement outside the church. 
They were to this effect — 

Big Bernard, ass and hog, here lieth low, 

Broker, spy, thief. To Pandora sole heir 

For all her blackest ills. Yet doth he share 

These with the blockhead Buaccio whom we know. 

The story of the incident and the verses went the 
round of the palace j and the Duke and Duchess 
laughed heartily. Before Bernardone heard of it, a 
great number of people had stopped to read the lines, 
and roared with laughter. All the time they looked 
towards the Mint, and fixed their eyes on Bernardone ; 
and his son Maestro Baccio noticing this, came in a 
fury and tore them down from the wall, while his 
father gnawed at his finger, and bellowed threats 
through his nose. He made a great fuss about the 

xc. When the Duke heard that the whole of my 
Perseus was ready for exhibition, he came to see it 
one day ; and it was very evident that he was much 
pleased. But turning to some gentlemen who were 
with him, he said, " Though this seems a very fine 
thing to us, it has still to please the people. And so, 
Benvenuto my friend, before you give it the last 
touches, I should like you, just to please me, to un- 
cover it towards the Piazza one mid-day, to see what 
they will say about it. For there is no doubt that 
when it is seen in the open, it will appear quite 
different from what it does now in this narow space." 
I answered meekly, "My lord, I assure you it will 
look twice as well. Oh, does not your Excellency 
remember having seen it in the garden of my house? 
There, with abundant space about it, it made so fine 
an effect, that Bandinello came through the garden of 
the Innocents to see it ; and for all his sour and evil 


nature, he could not but speak well of it, though he 
had never spoken well of any man's work before in 
his lift. I see your Excellency is too willing to be 
influenced by him." The Duke smiled not too agree- 
ably at my words ; yet he said quite good naturedly, 
"Do what I wish, my Benvenuto, just to give me 
some satisfaction." 

Then he went off, and I gave orders to have the 
statue uncovered. But some gold was still wanting, 
likewise varnish here and there, and various other 
little things, before the whole could be called com- 
plete J and I began to murmur wrathfully, and lament 
and curse the evil day that led me back to Florence. 
For by this time I saw clearly the tremendous loss I 
had sustained by quitting France ; nor did I see any 
prospect of benefit which would accrue to me from 
my lord in Florence ; for from the beginning all 
along till now, whatever I had done for him had 
profited me less than nothing. So it was with a 
mind full of discontent that next day I uncovered my 

Now, as it pleased God, so soon as the people 
caught sight of it, there rose a great shout of applause, 
and this gave my heart some comfort. While I had 
been putting the finishing touches to the thing, 
people never stopped pinning up sonnets to the posts 
of the door, over which hung a curtain. I declare to 
you that one day, when it was open for several hours, 
more than twenty sonnets were stuck up, all of them 
couched in terms of the very highest praise. After I 
had covered it again, every day a great number of 
sonnets were pinned up, and Latin and Greek verses, 
too ', for it was vacation time at the University of 
Pisa, and all the great distinguished doctors and scholars 
were each other's rivals in the matter. But what 
pleased me most, and gave me hope, too, of favour 
from the Duke, was that the artists, sculptors, and 
painters vied with each other as to who should say 


the finest thing about it. One of those whose praise 
I valued most was the able painter Jacopo da Pon- 
tormo. Still more did I set store on that of his 
pupil, the excellent painter Bronzino, who was not 
satisfied with sticking up several sonnets he had 
made, but sent them by his Sandrino to my 
house. So eloquently did they speak my praise, in 
that fine style which is a rare gift of his, that I did, 
indeed, draw some real consolation from them. 
Then I covered up the statue again, and set about 
completing it. 

xci. My Duke was well aware of the compliments 
which had been heaped on me by the distinguished 
artists of the Florentine school during the brief 
exhibition of my work. Nevertheless he said, "I 
am much pleased that Benvenuto should have had 
this little satisfaction. It will urge him to the 
desired end with more speed and diligence. But he 
need not think that when the whole of the statue is 
uncovered, and they can see all round it, that the 
people will speak in this tone. For all its defects will 
then be pointed out to him — nay, more than there 
really are. So let him arm himself with patience." 
Now these words were but a repetition of what Bandi- 
nello had said to the Duke ; and he had adduced the 
example of certain works by Andrea del Verrocchio, 
who made those fine bronzes, the Christ and the 
Saint Thomas, which can be seen on the facade of 
Orsammichele ; and other statues besides, even the 
admirable David of the divine Michel Agnolo 
Buonarroti, which, he said, only looked well if seen 
from the front. Then he spoke of his own Hercules 
and Cacus, and the abusive sonnets which had been 
written on it ; and went on to hurl insults at the 
people of Florence. The Duke, who was far too 
much influenced by him, had egged him on to say 
this, and felt confident that the thing would turn out 
as he said ; for Bandinello's heart was so full of envy 



that he never stopped from evil-speaking. And once 
when that hangman Bernardone, the broker, was 
present, he said to the Duke, by way of giving 
weight to Bandinello's words, " My lord, you must 
know that to make great statues is a very different 
matter from making little figures. I don't mean to 
say he has not done these little trifles very cleverly ; 
but you will see that in this larger work he will have 
no success." And so he went on concocting his 
calumnies, Hke the treacherous spy that he was, piling 
up a whole mountain of falsehood. 

xcii. Now, as it pleased my glorious Lord, the im- 
mortal God, I brought the thing at last to its end ; and 
one Thursday morning I showed it openly to the whole 
city. No sooner had I removed the screen, though 
the sun was barely risen, than a great multitude of 
people gathered round — it would be impossible to say 
how many — and all with one voice strove who should 
laud it highest. The Duke stood at one of the lower 
windows of the Palace, just above the door ; and there, 
half hidden in the embrasure, he heard every word 
that was said about the statue. When he had 
stayed listening for several hours, he got up in the 
best of spirits, and turning to Messer Sforza, one of 
his gentlemen, he said, "Sforza, go and find Ben- 
venuto, and tell him from me that he has satisfied 
me far more than I expected. Tell him also that I 
shall satisfy him in a way that will surprise him. 
And so let him be of good heart." And Messer 
Sforza came to me on his splendid errand, which gave 
me great comfort. That day was a very happy one 
for me, what with this good news from the Duke, 
and with the people pointing me out to this stranger 
and that, as some really marvellous and unheard-of 
wonder. Amongst those who were most compli- 
mentary to me were two gentlemen, ambassadors 
from the Viceroy of Sicily to our Duke on some 
affairs of state. These two most courteous men met 



me in the Piazza. I had been pointed out to them 
as I passed, and they were all eagerness to come at 
me. So now, cap in hand, they made me such a 
speech of ceremony that it would have more than 
satisfied a pope. I bowed as low as I could ; but 
they so overwhelmed me with their politeness that I 
entreated them to be good enough to come out of the 
Piazza with me ; for the people were stopping to 
look at me more than they did at my Perseus. In 
the midst of all their ceremonious speeches they had 
the face to propose I should go to Sicily, promising 
to make a most satisfactory bargain with me. They 
went on to tell me how Fra Giovan Agnolo de' Servi 
had made them a complete fountain, adorned with 
many figures ; but that it had none of that excellence 
displayed in my Perseus, though, they added, they 
had made a rich man of him. They would have 
gone on at greater length ; but I broke in, " I am 
very much astonished at your seeking to persuade 
me to leave the service of so great a lord. No 
prince was ever so great a lover of the arts as he. 
Besides, I am here in my native city, the school of 
all the higher arts. Oh, if I had craved for riches, I 
might have remained in France in the service of the 
great King Francis, who gave me a thousand gold 
crowns for my maintenance, in addition to paying 
for all the works I did for him, so that I made more 
than four thousand gold crowns a year. And I 
left in Paris the labours of four years." With these 
and other words of the kind, I made short work of 
their courtesies. Yet I thanked them for the great 
praise they had bestowed on me, than which no better 
reward can be given to the labours of an artist. 
They had, I said, so increased my desire to do well, 
that I hoped in a few years' time to be able to show 
another work, which I believed would give much 
more satisfaction to the noble Florentine school than 
the one they had seen. The two gentlemen would 


fain have picked up the thread of their ceremonious 
eloquence ; but with a sweep of my cap and a low 
bow, I bade them adieu. 

xciii. When two days had come and gone, and 
the praises of my work swelled louder and louder, I 
determined to go and pay my respects to my lord 
Duke. He received me very amiably, saying, " Ben- 
venuto, my friend, you have pleased and satisfied me ; 
but I promise to satisfy you also in a way that will 
astonish you, and this not later than to-morrow, I 
tell you." Hearing these great words of hope, I 
turned the full strength of my soul and body to God, 
giving thanks to Him in all sincerity. Then on the 
instant I drew near to my lord Duke, and, well-nigh 
weeping in my joy, I kissed the hem of his garment, 
and said, " O my glorious master, true and most 
liberal patron of the arts, and of such as labour in 
their pursuit, I pray your most illustrious Excellency 
to give me eight days' leave to go and return my 
thanks to God ; for my efforts have indeed been 
tremendous ; and I know that my strong faith has 
moved Him to be my Helper. For His wonderful 
aid to me, now and at other times, I would fain go 
on an eight days* pilgrimage, only to give thanks to 
the immortal God, who ever aids such as sincerely 
call upon Him." Then the Duke inquired where I 
meant to go ; and I replied, " To-morrow I shall take 
the road for Vallambrosa ; thence I shall go on to 
Camaldoli and the Eremo, and from there to the 
Bagni di Santa Maria, and perhaps even to Sestile, 
where I hear there are fine antiquities. Afterwards 
I shall return by way of San Francesco dell* Alverna ; 
and then, my heart still full of gratitude to God, 
come back with a right good will to serve you.*' 
The Duke gave cheerful answer, " Go then, and 
come back again ; for verily I am much pleased with 
you ; but let me have a line or two to remind me 
of your business, and leave the rest to me. There- 


fore, I wrote two or three lines, in which I set down 
my gratitude to his Excellency, and gave them to 
Messer Sforza, who handed them to the Duke. He 
took them, and then, returning them to Messer Sforza, 
said, " Put this every day where I shall see it ; for 
if Benvenuto were to come back and find I have 
not kept my promise, I verily believe he would 
murder me.' So, laughing, his Excellency said he 
was to be reminded of the business. That even- 
ing Messer Sforza repeated to me these deliberate 
words, laughing also, and wondering at the marked 
favour shown me by the Duke. Then he said 
good-naturedly, " Be off then, Benvenuto, and make 
haste back. Of a truth I envy you." 

xciv. I left Florence in God's name ; and I never 
ceased singing psalms and saying prayers to the 
honour and glory of God all that journey, which I 
much enjoyed, for the weather was lovely. It was 
summer-time j and my road lay through country 
which was new to me and very beautiful, so that I 
went my way full of wonder and content. One of 
my young workmen had come with me as guide. 
He was a native of Bagno, and his name was Cesare. 
I had the kindest reception from his father and all 
his household, among whom was a very charming old 
man more than seventy years old. He was Cesare's 
uncle, a surgeon by profession ; and he had some 
trifling knowledge of alchemy. This worthy man 
pointed out to me that the Bagni contained gold and 
silver mines, and showed me many beauties of the 
country-side ; so that I never had a better time in my 
life. One day, after we had grown very intimate, 
he said to me, " I must not fail to tell you something 
which is on my mind ; and if his Excellency would 
give ear, I believe it would be much to his profit. It 
is this : near CamaldoH there is a pass so undefended 
that Pier Strozzi could not only cross it with ease, 
but could take Poppi without the slightest risk." 

r 437 


And it was not enough for him to show me this in 
words ; the good old fellow took a piece of paper 
from his pocket, on which he had drawn a plan of 
the whole neighbourhood, so as to make the real 
danger perfectly plain. I took the chart and left 
Bagno. Then as speedily as I could, I went on my 
way back to Florence by Prato Magno and San 
Francesco dell' Alverna. 

Without stopping to do more than take ofF my 
riding- boots, I betook myself to the palace. Just by 
the Badia I met the Duke, who was walking along 
by the palace of the Podesta. As soon as he caught 
sight of me, he greeted me very amiably, yet with 
some astonishment, and said, "Oh, why have you 
come back so soon ? I wasn't expecting you for a 
week." I answered, "I have come back for the 
service of your Excellency. Otherwise I'd have gladly 
stopped a few days longer on my wanderings through 
that lovely country." " Well, what's the news ? " 
said he. And I answered, " My lord, there is some- 
thing of the highest importance which I must show 
you." Then I went off with him to the palace, 
and there he took me in all secrecy into a room 
where we were quite alone. I told him all, and 
showed him the little plan, and he seemed to be 
much pleased to have it. I said to his Excellency 
that precautions were very urgent ; whereupon he 
stood thinking for a while, and then said, " I may 
tell you that we have come to an understanding with 
the Duke of Urbino that he is to look after the 
business. But keep our counsel." Then having 
received marks of special favour from him, I returned 

xcv. Next day I presented myself at the palace ; 
and after we had talked together for a little while, 
the Duke said to me graciously, " To-morrow with- 
out fail I will dispatch your business. So be easy in 
your mind." And I, who had the utmost faith 



in his word, waited the morrow with eagerness. 
When that much-longed-for day arrived, I set out 
for the palace, and as bad news has ever a way of 
travelling faster than good, Messer Jacopo Guidi, his 
Excellency's secretary, called to me out of his crooked 
mouth and in his haughty voice, drawing himself up 
the while as stiff as a stick, or as if he were a frozen 
icicle : " The Duke says he would like to know 
what you ask for your Perseus." I was struck all of 
a heap with astonishment ; nevertheless I made haste 
to say I was not in the habit of putting prices on my 
work ; and that this was not what his Excellency had 
led me to expect two days ago. Then the fellow in a 
louder tone commanded me, in the name of the Duke, 
to tell him what I wanted for it under pain of the 
grave displeasure of his most illustrious Excellency. 
Now, not only had I been looking forward to getting 
a reward from his lordship, considering all the com- 
pliments he had showered on me, but still more was 
I confident of having secured his entire good- will, 
for that was all I had ever asked from him. So now 
this unexpected treatment of me — but especially the 
way in which that venomous toad did his errand — 
roused me to a pitch of fury. I said that were the 
Duke to give ten thousand crowns, I should be ill 
paid j and that if I had ever dreamed there would be 
chaffering of this sort over my work, I should never 
have consented to stop with him. Then the malicious 
creature hurled insults at me ; but I gave him as 

Next day I went to pay my respects to his 
Excellency, who signed to me to come near. When 
I did so, he called out angrily, " I could have cities 
and palaces built with ten thousands of ducats ; '* 
upon which I retorted that he would find any number 
of men capable of building cities and palaces, but 
maybe not one man in all the world who could 
make another Perseus. And I took myself off with- 



out further parleying. After a few days the Duchess 
sent for me, and begged me to leave her to settle 
my dispute with the Duke ; for she felt confident 
she could manage the affair satisfactorily. To her 
kind words I made answer that the only reward I had 
ever asked for my labours was the good-will of the 
Duke, and that his Excellency had promised should 
1be mine. What need, I asked, to place once again in 
their Excellencies' hands what I had freely left there 
from the very beginning of my service ? And I added 
that if the Duke were to give but a craxia — and 
that's five farthings — for my trouble, I should be 
pleased and satisfied, if only his Excellency did not 
withdraw his good-will from me. The Duchess 
smiled somewhat and said, " Benvenuto, you would 
do best to follow my advice." Then she turned and 
left me. I had thought it prudent to speak in this 
humble fashion, but I could not have done worse for 
myself , for although she had been a good deal vexed 
with me, her treatment of people was not without a 
certain kindliness. 

xcvi. In those days I was very intimate with Giro- 
lamo degli Albizzi, commissary of his Excellency's 
militia. So one day he said to me, " Benvenuto, you 
had much better arrange that little difference of 
yours with the Duke ; and I assure you that, if you 
trust the affair to me, I can settle it. I know what 
I am saying. He is really growing angry, and it 
will be a bad thing for you. Enough for the present. 
I can't tell you everything." Now after the Duchess 
had spoken to me, I had been told by some one — but 
perhaps he was a rascal — that he had heard the Duke 
say — I don't know on what occasion — " For less than 
two farthings I'd throw the Perseus into the gutter, 
and that would end the disputes ! " So I was 
anxious enough ; and I told Girolamo degli Albizzi 
that I would leave the matter to him, and should be 
content with whatever he did, if only I regained the 


Duke's good-will. Now the excellent fellow knew 
all about soldiering, especially matters concerning the 
militia, who are all countrymen ; but he cared nothing 
for sculpture, and therefore had not the least under- 
standing of it. So when he went to speak to the 
Duke, he said, " My lord, Benvenuto has put himself 
into my hands, and has begged me to recommend 
him to your Excellency's favour." To this the 
Duke answered, " And I, too, put myself into your 
hands, and shall be satisfied with whatever you decide." 
So Girolamo wrote a very ingenious letter in my 
behalf, in which he gave it as his opinion that the 
Duke owed me three thousand five hundred gold 
crowns, to be paid in gold ; that this did not suffice 
as payment for such a masterpiece, but was to be 
regarded as an instalment for maintenance ; yet I 
should be satisfied with it. And he added a great 
deal else, but all to the effect that this was the price 
we had decided on. The Duke agreed to this, 
just as pleased as I was ill content. When the 
Duchess heard of it, she said, " The poor man would 
have done better to have depended on me, for I 
should have secured him five thousand gold crowns ; " 
and one day when I had gone to the palace, she said 
the like to me in the presence of Messer Alamanno 
Salviati ; and she laughed at me, saying my ill luck 
served me right. 

The Duke arranged for me to have a hundred gold 
crowns in gold a month, till the whole sum should be 
paid up ; and so the thing dragged on for several 
months. Afterwards Messer Antonio de' Nobili, 
who had the affair in hand, began to give me only 
fifty ; then sometimes it would be twenty-five ; and 
again nothing at all. So when I saw all this delay I 
asked Messer Antonio very courteously why he did 
not pay up the sum ; and just as politely did he 
reply. However, in this replv he seemed to mc to 
give himself away somewhat. But judge for yourselves. 


For first he said that the reason why he did not go 
on paying me, was that the palace was in sore want 
of money ; but when money came in he would dis- 
charge the debt to me. Then he added, "On my 
soul, if I were not to pay you, I should indeed be a 
rascal ! " I wondered to hear him say such a thing ; 
yet I hoped still that when he could he would pay 
up. But when I saw that quite the contrary 
happened, and that I was being outraged, I got 
angry, and with bold and fiery words I reminded him 
of the name he said he should deserve were he not to 
deal honestly with me. But the man died ; and five 
hundred gold crowns are owing to me still to-day, 
and we are near the end of 1566. Besides, there was 
a balance due to me for salary, which I thought 
would never be paid up now ; for nearly three years 
had passed. But the Duke fell ill of a serious malady, 
the natural functions of his body being suspended for 
forty-eight hours. Seeing that the doctors' remedies 
were of no avail, perhaps he turned to God, and for 
that reason ordered that all those in his employment 
should be paid what was due to them. And I, too, 
was paid ; but not the balance of the money for the 

xcvii. I had all but made up my mind not to 
write another word about my unfortunate Perseus. 
But something happened so important that I am 
forced to tell it. So Pll turn back a little and pick 
up the thread I had dropped. I thought I was doing 
very wisely when I told the Duchess that I could 
not make a compromise about what had passed out of 
my hands ; for I had told the Duke that I should be 
satisfied with whatever he should give me. I had 
said this, thinking to ingratiate myself a Httle with 
them ; and not only did I take this humble tone, but 
I sought out every possible means of pleasing the 
Duke. And need was there I should do so ; for some 
days before he came to the understanding with 


Albizzij he had proved he was extremely wroth 
with me. And this was how it came about. I 
went to complain to his Excellency of certain dis- 
graceful injuries which I had suffered at the hands ot 
Messer Alfonso Quistello, Messer Jacopo Polverino, 
the procurator-fiscal, and, worst of all, Ser Giovan- 
battista Brandini of Volterra. Well, when I was 
setting my case before him with some show of heat, 
the Duke flew into the most furious rage you can 
imagine. And in his fury he cried out, " It is just 
as it was with your Perseus, for which you asked ten 
thousand crowns. You let your greed get the better 
of you. So I shall have the thing valued, and shall 
give you just what it is judged to be worth." I 
answered rather over boldly and with some anger — 
which it ill becomes one to show to the great — 
" How could my work possibly be valued at its true 
worth, since there is not a single man in Florence 
to-day fit to do it ? " Thereat he grew more furious 
than ever, and he poured out his wrath on me, 
saying, " There is in Florence to-day a man who is 
quite capable of making such another statue, and, 
therefore, quite fit to judge it." He meant Bandi- 
nello. Knight of Saint James. Thereupon I answered, 
"My lord, your most illustrious Excellency has 
enabled me, here in the greatest school of all the 
world, to produce a great masterpiece, in whose 
execution every difficulty had to be met ; and the 
work has received more praise than any other ever 
exhibited in this divinest school. My chief boast is 
in the praises of those who understand and are them- 
selves masters of the art — Bronzino the painter, to 
name one, who was at the pains to write four sonnets, 
in which he spoke of me in the choicest and most 
glorious terms possible. Probably it was he, indeed, 
who woke the city to such a pitch of fervour. And 
I declare that had he given himself to sculpture as he 
has done to painting, perhaps he might have done 



the thing himself. Moreover, your Excellency, my 
master, Michel Agnolo Buonarroti, could have done 
it v^rhen he was younger, though it would have been 
no easier task to him than it was to me. But now 
that he is a very old man, assuredly the task would 
be beyond him. And I don't believe there is any 
other man alive who could have carried the thing 
through. Now my work has received the greatest 
reward I could desire in this world — especially as 
your Excellency has not only declared yourself 
satisfied with it, but has praised it more highly than 
any one else. What greater or more splendid reward 
could I long for ? I assure your Excellency that you 
could pay me in no more glorious money, nor could 
you add anything to it, no matter what treasure you 
showered upon me. I am thus overpaid ; and with 
all my heart I thank your most illustrious Excellency." 
To these words of mine the Duke gave answer, " I 
suppose you think that I have not money enough to 
pay you ; but I tell you that I shall give you more 
for the thing than it is worth." To this I replied, 
" I never thought of any other reward from your 
Excellency ; but I hold myself nobly paid by the 
approval of our Florentine school ; and having this, 
I desire to take my leave in all haste ; nor do I even 
wish to enter again that house which you gave to 
me ; for I would turn my back on Florence for ever- 
more." We had just reached Santa Felicita, and the 
Duke was returning to the palace. At these hot 
words of mine he turned on me in a great rage and 
said, " You shall not go ! Take good heed not to 
go ! " And I, almost terror-stricken, went along 
with him to the palace. 

There he called for Bartolini, the Archbishop 
of Pisa, and also Messer Pandolfo della Stufa, and 
gave them orders to tell Baccio Bandinello from 
him that he was to make an examination of my 
Perseus, and to value it ; for he wished me to be paid 



with strict justice. So these two worthies went off 
to find Bandinello. When they had delivered their 
message, he said that he had examined the work 
thoroughly, and knew perfectly what it was worth ; 
but as he had had many differences v/ith me in the 
past, he did not wish to be mixed up with any affairs 
of mine. Then the two gentlemen went on to say, 
"The Duke commands you, under pain of his 
displeasure, to value it ; and says if two days or three 
be necessary for the business, you are to take that 
time. Then you will tell us what seems to you a 
fair price for the labour." So Bandinello replied 
again that he had examined the thing well ; and since 
he might not disobey the Duke, he would say that 
the work was rich and beautiful, and, in his opinion, 
was worth sixteen thousand gold crowns at the least. 
The gentlemen brought back this message to the 
Duke — who was extremely irritated — and to me as 
well. But I replied that I had no desire for the 
eulogies of Bandinello, who spoke ill of everybody. 
My words were reported to the Duke, and then it 
was the Duchess entreated me to leave the matter to 
her. All this is the pure truth. But I should have 
done best to let the Duchess decide the question ; 
for I should have been promptly paid, and more 
handsomely too. 

xcviii. The Duke sent a message to me by Messer 
Lelio Torello,his High Chancellor, that he wished me 
to make some bronze bas-reliefs for the choir of S. 
Maria del Fiore. But the choir was by Bandinello ; 
and I did not want to enrich his wretched work by 
my labours — though he had not designed it, knowing 
nothing at all about architecture. The design was 
from the hands of Giuliano, son of Baccio d'Agnolo, 
the carver, the man who spoiled the cupola. In any 
case, there is no merit about it whatsoever. So for 
good reasons I was unwilling to undertake the work ; 
still, all the same, I courteously assured the Duke that 



I should do what he '•ommanded me. Then his Ex- 
cellency ordered the building committee of S. Maria 
del Fiore to co-operate with me. He would himself 
give me my two hundred crowns a year as before ; 
but the rest of my provision they were to pay out of 
their own treasury. Well, I appeared before these 
officials, who told me all the Duke had ordered. 
Now it seemed a much easier thing to put my 
arguments before them than before his Excellency ; 
and so I began to show them that the expense of all 
these bronze bas-reliefs would be tremendous, and 
the money would all be thrown away. And I gave 
my reasons for saying so, which they perfectly under- 
stood. The first was, that the style of the choir was 
quite incorrect. There was neither harmony, nor 
art, nor convenience, nor grace, nor good design 
about it. Besides, the proposed bas-reliefs would be 
placed below the level of vision, where the dogs 
would foul them. Therefore I must refuse to carry 
out the work. Yet I did not wish to waste my best 
years by falling out of the employment of his 
Excellency, whom I would still fain please and 
serve ; and so if he would make use of my talents, I 
would have him give me the execution of the middle 
door of S. Maria del Fiore. Such a work, now, 
would be seen, and so would bring more glory to 
his lordship. I should strike a bargain that, 
unless mine was better than the finest of the 
Baptistery doors, I should have nothing for my 
pains. On the other hand, if I executed it accord- 
ing to my promise, I should be content to have it 
estimated, and to receive a thousand crowns less 
than its worth as stated by the valuers. The com- 
mittee were much pleased with my proposal, and 
went to lay it before the Duke, Piero Salviati being 
one of them. They felt sure he would be greatly 
satisfied too. But not at all. He said I was always 
wanting to do exactly the opposite of what he 


suggested. And so Piero left him, with the business 
still undecided. When I heard this, I went at once 
to the Duke myself. He appeared to be in an ill 
humour with me ; but I begged him to have the 
goodness to listen to me ; and thus far he agreed. 
So I began from the beginning, and placed such 
excellent reasons before him that he understood at 
last the real state of the case, and that his own pro- 
posal meant throwing good money away. Then I 
soothed him by saying that, if he was not willing 
to give the order for the door, at least two pulpits 
were wanted for the choir ; that these would be 
important works redounding to the glory of his 
Excellency ; I would make a large number of bronze 
bas-reliefs for them, narrative subjects, with rich 
decorations. So I coaxed him to agree ; and he 
ordered me to make the models. 

I made several of these, taking the utmost pains 
with them. With one of them, which had eight 
sides, I took especial trouble, and to my thinking it 
was the most convenient and suitable for its purpose. 
After I had taken them several times to the palace, 
his Excellency sent me word by Messer Ccsare, his 
Master of the Wardrobe, to leave them for his 
inspection. Then, when he had examined them, 
I saw that he had chosen the least beautiful. One 
day he sent for me ; and while we were talking over 
the models, I told him — and I proved my point with 
many arguments — that the octagonal would be the 
best for the purpose, as well as the most beautiful. 
But he said he wished it square ; he liked it better 
so ; and we conversed together pleasantly for a long 
time. I did not fail to say all I could think of in 
the interests of art j but whether he knew I spoke 
the truth, and still wished to have his own way, or 
whatever was the reason, I heard nothing more of 
the business for a long time. 

xcix. It was about this time that the huge block 



of marble for the Neptune was brought up the Arno, 
and then by the Grieve to the Poggio a Caiano road, 
that it might be brought to Florence by that level 
way. I went out there to see it. Though I was 
well aware that the Duchess had got it for the 
Cavaliere Bandinello by her special favour, I felt no 
jealousy of him ; but pity seized me for that poor 
unlucky block of marble. For, observe, if a thing 
be marked out for an evil destiny, it is useless to try 
to save it from a threatening ill. Something far 
worse only befalls it. So was it with this marble 
when it came into the hands of Bartolommeo Am- 
manato, of whom I shall speak the truth in its own 
place. Well, after I had looked at this magnificent 
block, I measured it carefully every way, and when 
I went back to Florence I made several little models 
proportionate to its dimensions. Then I set off for 
Poggio a Caiano, where the Duke and Duchess 
were with their son, the Prince. I found them at 
table ; and as the Duke and Duchess were eating 
apart from the rest, I began to talk to the Prince. 
After a time the Duke, who was in an adjoining 
room, heard me, and did me the honour of calling 
me. When I entered the presence of their Excel- 
lencies, the Duchess began to speak very amiably to 
me, till at last I was able to introduce the subject or 
the splendid block of marble I had seen. Then I 
went on to tell how their fathers had bred great 
talents in the noble school of Florentine art only by 
pitting the best artists against each other in honour- 
able rivalry. So was the wonderful cupola, and so 
were the exquisite doors of San Giovanni made, and 
many other temples and statues besides, which were 
now a crown of genius on their city's head, the Hke 
of which had never been seen since ancient days. 
All at once the Duchess broke in angrily, saying she 
understood my drift quite well, and she forbade me 
ever to speak another word about that marble in her 


hearing, for it displeased her. I answered, " Then I 
displease you in desiring to be your Excellencies' 
procurator, and in striving that you be better served ? 
Think a little, my lady ; if your Excellencies will 
consent that each of us make a model for the 
Neptune, though you have made up your minds to 
give it to Bandinello, it will come about that, for his 
own credit, he will take more pains with his than if 
there were no competitors. Thus you will be better 
served, and will not bring discouragement to this 
marvellous school of Florence. You will see which 
of us is in the right way — I mean, who follows the 
great style of our wonderful art ; and will prove 
yourselves to be princely patrons of taste and under- 
standing." The Duchess got in a temper and told 
me I wearied her to death, and that she wanted 
Bandinello to have the marble. " Ask the Duke," 
she went on, " for his Excellency is of the same 
mind." When the Duchess had finished, the Duke, 
who till now had been dumb, said, " It is twenty 
years since I had that fine block dug up specially for 
Bandinello ; and so I want him to have it for his 
very own." Then I turned to him and said, " My 
lord, I beg that you will be good enough to hear 
me while I say three or four words in your own 
interest." He answered I might say what I liked ; 
he would listen. Then I went on, "You must 
know, my lord, that the marble out of which 
Bandinello made his Hercules and Cacus was dug 
for the divine Michel Agnolo, who had made the 
model of a Samson with four figures about him. It 
would have been the finest thing in the world. 
Now your Bandinello only got two figures out of it ; 
and a wretched bit of cobbled work it was, too ; so 
that the noble school still cries out at the great 
wrong which the fine marble suffered. I believe 
that over a thousand sonnets were stuck up, crying 
shame on the miserable bit of work ; and I know 



your Excellency remembers the circumstance quite 
well. And so, my valorous lord, because those who 
were responsible for that work were so ignorant as 
to take away the fine block of marble from Michel 
Agnolo — though it had been quarried for him — and 
give it to Bandinello, who spoiled it, as is plainly to 
be seen, will you suffer that he should spoil this still 
more wonderful block, though it be his, rather than 
give it to an abler man, who would get the best out 
of it for you ? I entreat of you, my lord, consent that 
whoever has the will may make a model. Then let 
them all be exhibited to the school ; your Excellency 
will hear what the artists say ; and with your good 
judgment you will know how to choose the best. 
In this way you will neither be throwing away your 
money, nor taking the heart out of so talented a 
school as ours, unique to-day in all the world, and 
the chief glory of your Excellency." The Duke 
had listened very amiably ; and when he got up from 
table, he turned to me and said, " Go, my Benvenuto ; 
make a model, and win the fine marble ; for it is 
the truth you tell me. That I own.*' But the 
Duchess shook her head threateningly, and muttered 
I know not what in her anger. I did them reverence, 
and went back to Florence, dying with impatience 
to begin upon the model. 

c. The Duke returned to Florence, and came to 
see me at my house without a word beforehand. I 
showed him two different designs I had made. He 
praised them both, but said he liked one better than 
the other, and bade me finish it carefully, for it 
would be to my profit. He had seen Bandinello's 
and the others* too ; but he said mine was a long way 
better than the rest. So was I told by many of the 
people of his court who had heard him. Among 
other notable things I remember in this regard, there 
is one which merits every attention. The Cardinal 
of Santa Fiore came to Florence on a visit, and the 


Duke took him to Poggio a Caiano. As he passed 
along the road, he saw the block of marble. He 
praised it greatly, and then asked his Excellency 
for what sculptor he intended it. The Duke 
answered without hesitation, "My Benvenuto, who 
has made me a magnificent model for it." And this 
was told me by trustworthy persons. So I went to 
pay a visit to the Duchess, and took her some pretty 
little trifles of my jeweller's art, which gave her 
great pleasure. Thereupon she asked me what I 
was working at ; and I answered, " My lady, I have 
undertaken for my own pleasure one of the most 
difficult things in the world. It is a Christ of 
whitest marble on a cross of blackest marble, of the 
size of a well-grown man." She asked at once what 
I meant to do with it. "I would have you know, 
my lady," I answered, " that I would not give it for 
two thousand gold ducats paid in gold ; for surely 
never did any man before take in hand a thing of 
such extreme difficulty. Neither would I have 
undertaken to do it for the greatest prince, lest I 
might be shamed by my failure. I bought the 
marbles with my own money ; and for about two 
years past I have kept a lad to help me with it ; so 
that between the marbles, and the iron framework 
on which it is set up, and wages, it has cost me 
more than three hundred crowns. And, therefore, 
I would not sell it for two thousand in gold. But 
if your most illustrious Excellency will do me a very 
permissible favour, I shall give it you freely with much 
good-will. It is only this, that you neither favour me 
nor take sides against me in this matter of the models 
of the Neptune, which his Excellency has ordered for 
the great block of marble." At this she was very 
angry, and said, " So you are quite indifferent both to 
my help and to my disfavour ? " " Nay, my lady," I 
answered, " since I am now making you an offer of 
what I deem worth two thousand ducats. But I am 



so confident in the result of the hard, disciplined 
study I have devoted to my art, that I think to gain 
the palm, even v^^ere the great Michel Agnolo 
Buonarroti in the running, from whom alone in all 
the vs^orld I have learnt what I know. And I 
would much rather have him as rival, with all his 
skill, than those others with their Httle ; for I 
should reap great honours in contest with the great 
master ; but there is Httle credit to be had in surpass- 
ing the rest." When I had made an end of speaking, 
she got up as if vexed with me; and I went back to my 
model to work at it with all the energy that was in me. 
As soon as it was completed, the Duke came to 
inspect it, accompanied by two ambassadors from the 
Duke of Ferrara and the Signory of Lucca. He was 
much pleased with it, and said to the gentlemen, 
" Without a doubt Benvenuto deserves it." Then 
they complimented me warmly, more especially the 
ambassador from Lucca, who was a man of taste and 
learning. I had gone apart that they might say 
whatever they liked ; but hearing these complimentary 
words, I went up to the Duke and said, " My lord, 
your Excellency should demand still another test ; 
you should order those of us who care to undergo it, 
to make a clay model of the size which the marble 
will allow of. Then you will see much better who 
deserves the order. And I say that if your Excellency 
should give it to an incapable man, this will not 
wrong the deserving sculptor so much as it will 
wrong yourself; for you will lose both your money 
and your credit. Whereas, if you give it to the right 
man, you will win the greatest glory, and make an 
excellent investment of your money ; and all persons 
of taste will believe you do, indeed, take delight in art 
and have a knowledge of it." The Duke shrugged 
his shoulders at my words. When he was moving 
away, the ambassador of Lucca said to him, "My 
lord, this Benvenuto of yours is a terrible man ! " 


And the Duke replied, " He is much more terrible 
than you know ; and it would be a good thing for 
him if he had been less so ; for then he'd be more 
prosperous to-day than he is." These deliberate words 
were reported to me by the ambassador himself, as if 
he would have chid me for my conduct. I answered 
that I wished to do my duty to my lord as became 
his loving and faithful servant ; but I did not know 
how to flatter him. A few weeks after this Bandin- 
ello died j and the rumour was, that besides his excesses, 
his sorrow at the prospect of losing the marble had 
some part in his death. 

ci. Now when Bandinello heard that I was making 
the Crucifix I have spoken of, he got hold of a piece 
of marble, and made the Pieta which can be seen 
to-day in the Church of the Annunziata. I had 
intended my Crucifix for Santa Maria Novella, and 
had already put up the great hooks on which I meant 
it to hang. All I asked in return was to make a 
little tomb under it, where my bones might lie when 
I was dead. The brothers told me they could not 
grant such a thing without the leave of the 
churchwardens ; whereupon I said to them, "My, 
brothers, why did you not crave their leave before 
finding a place for my fine Crucifix ? You never 
asked them whether I might fix up the hooks and 
make the other arrangements." So I had no more 
mind to give the results of all my hard labour to the 
Church of Santa Maria Novella, though the wardens 
afterwards came to beg me for it. I turned my 
steps at once to the Church of the Annunziata ; and 
when I offered it on the same conditions as I had 
made to Santa Maria Novella, the good brothers of 
the Annunziata were all agreed that I should place 
it in their church ; and allowed me to make my 
tomb in whatever fashion seemed good to me. 
Bandinello got wind of this ; hurried on with his 
Pieta, and besought the Duchess to get him the 



Pazzi Chapel for it. This he got with some diffi- 
culty, and then made all haste to fix up his Pieta 
there. But he died before it was finished. 

The Duchess declared that as she had helped him 
in life, so would she be his friend in death ; and 
though he was dead, I need never make any effort 
to get the marble. And so Bernardone the broker 
told me one day when I met him out in the country, 
that she had settled the matter ; whereupon I said, 
" O unhappy marble ! Surely, its fate would have 
been evil enough had it fallen into the hands of 
Bandinello ; but left to Ammanato, it fares a hundred 
times worse." The Duke had ordered me to make 
a clay model as large as the block would allow of j 
and he had supplied me with wood and clay, and let 
me raise a kind of screen in the Loggia where my 
Perseus is, paying a workman to help me. So with 
all haste I made the wooden framework after my 
excellent method. Then I finished the model with 
good success, though I had given up the thought of 
carrying it out in marble, knowing the Duchess was 
determined I should not have the commission. But 
I did not care. I was, indeed, pleased to give myself 
all this trouble ; for I looked forward to making her 
very sorry, when she should have seen my finished 
design — she was an intelligent person, as I was 
afterwards aware — for doing so great a wrong to the 
marble and to herself. Giovanni the Fleming, too, 
made a model in the cloisters of Santa Croce, and 
Vicenzio Danti the Perugian made one in the house 
of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici ; another was begun 
by the son of Moschino at Pisa ; and another by 
Bartolommeo Ammanato in the Loggia, which we 
divided between us. When I had blocked mine 
well out, and was about to finish the head, which I 
had already done in the rough, the Duke came down 
from the palace ; and Giorgetto the painter took 
him into Ammanato's place to see the Neptune — on 



which, by the way, Giorgino himself had been 
working for several days, along with Ammanato and 
all his helpers. While the Duke was looking at it, 
I was told that it pleased him very little ; and 
though Giorgino would have rammed a deal of silly 
nonsense down his throat, his Excellency shook his 
head, and turning to Messer Gianstefano, said, " Go 
and ask Benvenuto if his giant is well enough on 
for him to be willing to give me a glimpse of it." 
Messer Gianstefano delivered the Duke's message 
to me in most courteous and amiable terms, adding 
that if my work did not seem to me in a condition 
to be shown, I was to say so frankly ; for the 
Duke was well aware that I had had little aid in my 
great undertaking. I answered that I should esteem 
his coming a great favour, and that though my 
work was still very incomplete, his Excellency's 
intelligence was such that he would understand 
perfectly how it would appear when finished. So 
the worthy gentleman carried my message back to 
the Duke, who came eagerly to see my model. No 
sooner was he inside my enclosure and had glanced 
at my work, than he showed his full satisfaction. 
He walked all round, stopping to examine it from 
all four sides, just as if he had been the most 
accomplished judge of the art ; and his every look 
and gesture proved his great delight. But all he 
said was, " Benvenuto, you have now only to polish 
it up." Then turning to those who had come with 
him, he expressed his high approval of my work, 
saying, "The Httle model I saw in his house 
pleased me very much ; but this far surpasses it in 

cii. It pleased God, who doeth all things for our 
utmost good — at least He is ever the defender of such 
as confess Him and believe in Him — that in those days 
I fell in with a rascal from Vicchio called Piermaria 
d' Anterigoli, commonly called Lo Sbietta, a sheep- 



farmer by occupation. As he was a near relative of 
Messer Guido Guidi, the physician, now the provost of 
Pescia, I gave ear to him when he offered to sell me 
a farm for the term of my natural life. I would not 
go and see the farm, being all eagerness to finish the 
model of my huge Neptune ; and, indeed, there was 
no need for me to see it, since he only sold me the 
income of it. This he had written down for me as 
consisting of so many bushels of grain, so much 
wine, oil, growing corn, chestnuts, and whatever else 
the land produced ; and I reckoned that, according to 
current prices, these were worth upwards of a 
hundred gold crowns in gold ; while I paid him six 
hundred and fifty, counting the taxes. Thus, as I 
had a script in his own hand, promising to keep 
up the income of the farm at its present state of 
efficiency during my hfetime, I had no desire to 
go and see the place — although I made the most 
searching inquiries as to whether Sbietta and his 
brother Ser FiHppo were substantial enough persons 
to render my investment safe. Many different 
persons who knew them, told me that the security 
was all that could be desired. The lawyer whom 
we called in was Ser Pierfrancesco Bertoldi, notary 
to the Mercantanzia ; and without delay I put into 
his hands the written acknowledgment of what 
Sbietta bound himself to hand over to me, thinking 
that this would appear in the contract. But the 
lawyer who drew it up was so busy over the noting 
down of two and twenty particular conditions, which 
Sbietta insisted on, that it seems to me he must 
have forgotten to include in the agreement the state- 
ment of the income which the seller had bound 
himself to give me. All the time the notary was 
writing, I kept on working j and as he plodded over 
his task hour after hour, I got well forward with my 
Neptune's head. When the contract had been duly 
drawn up and signed, Sbietta began to show me the 


most marked politeness ; and I was no less courteous 
to him. He sent me presents of kids, cheeses, 
capons, curds, and different fruits, until I became 
not a little ashamed. In return for his kindness, I 
used to bring him away from his inn every time he 
came to Florence, and lodge him in my own house ; 
and if any of his relatives were with him, as frequently 
happened, they came to me, too. Then he began 
to say to me in a jesting fashion how it was a shame 
that I had bought a farm weeks and weeks ago, yet 
had never made up my mind to leave my business to 
my men even for three days, in order to come and 
see it. At last he cajoled me into consenting ; and, 
as ill luck would have it, I set off one day for the 
farm. Sbietta gave me the kindest and most 
honourable reception in his house — he could have 
done no more for a duke ; and his wife was still 
more demonstrative. And so things remained be- 
tween us till he had fully arranged what he and Ser 
Filippo his brother had planned to do. 

ciii. But all this time I was hurrying on with my 
work on the Neptune ; and already I had blocked it 
out, as I have said, on an excellent method, which no 
one had ever used or thought of before. And though 
I was sure the marble was not for me — I have already 
told you why — I had a mind to finish the model as 
soon as possible, and show it off on the Piazza, merely 
for my own satisfaction. 

The season was warm and pleasant ; and as I had 
been coaxed bv the two scoundrels, I set out one Wed- 
nesday — it was a double Saint's day — from my villa at 
Trespiano. I stayed so long over an excellent lunch 
that it was more than twenty o'clock when I reached 
Vicchio. At the gate of the town I met with Ser 
Filippo, who seemed to know where I was going. 
He was all politeness to me, and took me to Sbictta's 
house, where we found that shameless wife of his, 
who likewise overwhelmed me with attentions. I 


presented her with a hat of the finest straw, and she 
said she had never seen a more elegant one. But 
Sbietta was not there. As evening drew on, we 
supped together very pleasantly. I was shown to a 
handsome chamber, where I slept between sheets 
as white as snow ; and my two servants were also 
well entertained, according to their rank. When I 
got up in the morning, this kindness still continued. 
I went to look at my farm and was much pleased 
with it ; and I was put in possession of a certain 
quantity of grain and standing crops. When I got 
back to Vicchio, the priest Ser Filippo said to me, 
" Benvenuto, let your mind be at rest. You may 
not have found to-day the whole of what was pro- 
mised you. Yet be assured ; it will turn out all 
right, for you are dealing with honest men. But I 
must tell you we have sent that labourer whom you 
know packing, for he is a rogue." He was speaking 
of a man called Mariano Rosegli, who now said to 
me, repeating it more than once, "Look out for 
your own. In the end you'll know which of us is 
the bigger rogue." When the countryman said 
this to me, he sniggered in a malicious fashion, 
tossing his head as if to say, " Go and see for 

I could not help thinking there was something 
wrong ; but I never imagined what actually happened 
to me. When I returned from the farm, which is 
two miles from Vicchio, towards the Alpi, I found 
the priest, who greeted me with his wonted polite- 
ness, and we sat down to meat together. It was 
not dinner, but an excellent collation. Then I went 
for a walk about Vicchio, where the market had 
already begun ; but I observed that everybody looked 
at me as if I were some very unusual kind of being, 
and especially a very honest man, an old inhabitant 
of the place, whose wife bakes bread for sale. He 
has some good land of his own about a mile away ; 


but he likes to live like this ; and rents a house of 
mine in the town, which came to me along with the 
farm of La Fonte I have been speaking of. Now 
he said to me, " I am your tenant, and I'll pay the 
rent when it falls due, or before then, if you like. 
You may be sure we shall not quarrel." While we 
were talking, I noticed him looking hard at me ; so I 
could not help saying, "Tell me, dear Giovanni, I 
beg you, why you go on staring at me so fixedly ? " 
And the worthy fellow answered, "I shall tell you 
willingly, if you promise me, on your word as an 
honest man, not to tell whom you heard it from." 
I gave him the promise ; whereupon he said, " Well, 
I'd have you know that that rascally priest Ser 
Filippo, not many days ago, was going about boast- 
ing of his brother Sbietta's clever trick in selling his 
farm to an old man for his lifetime, who would not 
last the year. You have got into the hands of a 
pack of scoundrels ; so take good care of your life. 
Be wide awake, for there's need of it. I will say no 

civ. While I was going about the market, I came 
across Giovanbatista Santini ; and the priest brought 
us both back to supper. And as I said before, the 
meal was prepared for about twenty o'clock. It was 
on my account we supped so early, because I wished 
to return that night to Trespiano. So everything 
was got ready, and Sbietta's wife fussed about a great 
deal with their menial Cecchino Buti. The salads 
were dressed, and we were just sitting down to table, 
when that wicked priest said, with an evil leer, 
" You must pardon me ; but I cannot sup with you, 
for I have a bit of important business on hand for 
my brother Sbietta. As he is not here, I must look 
after it for him." We all entreated him to remain 
with us ; but he would not be persuaded. So he went 
off, and we sat down to eat. We had eaten our 
salad off common plates ; but when the boiled beef 



was to be served, each of us was given a bowl. 
Santini, who was sitting opposite me, said, "They 
give you quite different dishes from the rest of us. 
Did you ever see anything finer ? " I replied that I 
had not observed it. Then he bade me ask Sbietta's 
wife to sit down at table with us ; for she and 
Cecchino Buti were running about, fussing here and 
there in the strangest manner. In the end I per- 
suaded the lady to sit down ; and then she began to 
lament, " My food does not please you ; you eat 
nothing at all." I praised the supper over and over 
again, saying I had never eaten a better, nor with 
more appetite. But now I was quite satisfied. I 
couldn't think why the woman pressed me so to eat. 
It was past twenty-one o'clock when we had finished 
supper ; and I was in a hurry to get back that night 
to Trespiano, so that I might get on next day with 
my work in the Loggia. I bade farewell to them 
all, thanked the lady, and took my departure. I had 
not gone three miles before I felt a burning in my 
stomach ; and I was in such pain that I thought I 
should never reach my farm at Trespiano. But, as 
it pleased God, I got there at last after great efforts. 
It was late, and I prepared at once to go to bed. All 
that night I could not sleep for the disorder in my 
bowels. As soon as it was daylight, I discovered from 
my motions what made me suspect I had eaten 
something poisonous ; and I went over and over in 
my mind what it could possibly have been. Then I 
bethought me of the plates and bowls and other dishes 
givcH me by Sbietta's wife, which were different 
from the others ; and how that rascally priest, Sbietta's 
brother, had been so officiously polite, and yet would 
not stay to sup with us. Moreover, I recalled how 
he had boasted of his brother's clever trick in having 
sold a farm to an old man for his lifetime, who 
would not last the year — according to the report 
of that honest man Giovanni Sardella. So I felt 


sure that they had given me a dose of sublimate 
in the sauce, which was very well made, and most 
pleasant to the taste ; for sublimate produces exactly 
the symptoms I noticed in myself. I am not used 
to eat much sauce or any seasoning with my meat, 
except salt ; and yet I had eaten two mouthfuls, 
because it tasted so good. Then I went on to re- 
member how often the wife of Sbietta pressed me in 
all sorts of ways to take more of it ; so that I was 
convinced that they had put a dash of sublimate in 
my sauce. 

cv. Wretchedly ill as I was, I was determined to 
work on my huge statue in the Loggia. However, 
after a few days, my sore sickness was too much for 
me, and I stopped in bed. And as soon as the 
Duchess heard that I was ill, she had the accursed 
marble given over to Bartolommeo Ammanato. He 
sent me word by Messer . . . living in the Via . . . 
that I might do whatever I Hked with the model I 
had begun, since he had got the marble. This 
Messer . . . was one of the lovers of Bartolommeo 
Ammanato*s wife ; and as he excelled all the others 
in gentleness and tact, Ammanato gave him abundant 
opportunities. Of this I could tell much. But I 
have no wish to do like Bandinello, his master, who 
never kept to the point in talking. Enough to 
say that I told Ammanato's envoy that I had known 
it all the time. I sent Bartolommeo the advice to 
strive to prove his gratitude to Fortune for this great 
mark of favour shown him through no merit of his 

So I stayed in bed in wretched case, cared for by 
that most excellent man. Maestro Francesco da 
Monte Varchi, the physician. The surgeon, Maestro 
RafFaello de* Pilli, co-operated with him ; for the 
sublimate had so burnt my intestines that I suffered 
from continuous diarrhoea. At last Messer Fran- 
cesco recognised that the poison had done all the ill 


it could ; for there had not been enough of it to 
overcome the vigour of my excellent constitution ; 
so he said to me one day, " Benvenuto, give thanks 
to God J for you have conquered ; and rest assured 
that I am going to cure you, just to spite the 
scoundrels who wished you ill." Then Maestro 
RafFaello said, " This will be one of the most wonder- 
ful and hardest cures ever heard of; for you must 
know, Benvenuto, that you swallowed a mouthful of 
sublimate." But Maestro Francesco cut in with, 
" Perhaps it was a poisonous caterpillar." And I 
answered that I knew quite well what poison it was, 
and who had given it to me. And here we all 
became silent. They went on tending me for more 
than six whole months ; and a year had gone by 
before I regained my full strength. 

cvi. About this time [October 28, 1560], the 
Duke made his public entry into Siena ; and Am- 
manato had gone there several months beforehand to 
erect the triumphal arches. A natural son of his who 
had stopped behind in the Loggia workshop, had 
taken off the coverings from my unfinished Neptune 
model. I went at once to lay my complaint before 
Signor Don Francesco, the Duke's son, who had 
proved himself a good friend of mine, and told him 
how they had uncovered my unfinished figure. Had 
it been complete, I should not have cared. There- 
upon the Prince replied, shaking his head in a 
threatening fashion, " Benvenuto, do not be vexed at 
its being uncovered ; for they do most harm of all 
to themselves. However, if you prefer that I should 
cover it up again, I shall do so." And his most 
illustrious Excellency added several other words com- 
plimentary to me in the presence of several of his 
lords. Then I begged him to give me the means of 
completing it ; for I would fain make a present of it, 
along with the little model, to his Excellency. He 
replied that he should be pleased to accept both ; and 


that he would order that everything necessary for my 
work should be supplied to me. And so I fed on this 
little favour, which, indeed, was the saving of my Hfe; 
for so many terrible ills and vexations coming on me 
all at once, I felt myself failing under them. But 
this little courtesy strengthened me with some hopes 
of life. 

cvii. A year had now gone by since I had bought 
the La Fonte farm from Sbietta ; and as if poisoning 
and cheating me were not enough, I found that the 
land did not produce half what they had promised 
me. Besides the contract, I had a document in 
Sbietta's own hand, in which he declared himself 
bound before witnesses to keep up the stated income. 
So I betook myself to the Lords in Council. Messer 
Alfonso Quistello was living then. He was pro- 
curator - fiscal, and sat in the Council, of which 
Averardo Serristori and Federigo de' Ricci were also 
members. I do not remember the names of all ; but 
one of the Alessandri was among them ; and at all 
events, they were very important persons. Now 
when I had put my case before these magistrates, 
they all with one accord decided that Sbietta should 
give me back my money — except Federigo de' Ricci, 
who was making use of Sbietta at that time himself. 
The rest expressed their regret that he hindered the 
settlement of the business. Indeed, Averardo Serris- 
tori made a great fuss about it, and so did Alessandri ; 
but Federigo was clever enough to make the affair 
drag on till these magistrates' term of office was up. 
So some time after this I came upon Serristori one 
morning in the Piazza dell' Annunziata ; and he 
called out to me, in the most reckless fashion, 
" Federigo de' Ricci has got the better of the whole 
or us ; and you are wronged against our will." I 
will say no more about this, lest it should prove too 
offensive to the highest powers of the State. Let it 
suffice to say that I suffered gross injustice because of 


the arbitrary will of a rich citizen, who happened to 
be in need of the services of that cheat of a sheep- 

cviii. I then betook myself to Leghorn, where the 
Duke was, to beg him to let me leave his service. 
For I felt my strength coming back, and yet I was 
left without employment ; and it angered me to see 
such wrong done to my art. So now I made my 
mind up ; and reaching Leghorn, found the Duke, 
who received me most kindly. I stayed there 
several days, and every day I rode out with his 
Excellency. Thus I had an excellent chance of 
saying all I wanted ; for he used to ride four miles 
out of Leghorn, shaving the sea-coast, to a place 
where he was building a small fortress. He did not 
wish to be troubled by a train of courtiers, and so he 
liked to have me with him to talk to him. Well, 
one day seeing him very well disposed to me, I 
began on the subject of Sbietta, I mean Piermaria 
d' Anterigoli, and said, "My lord, I should like to 
relate to your Excellency a most curious occurrence, 
which will explain to you what prevented me from 
finishing the Neptune in clay, that I was working at 
in the Loggia. I must tell you that I had bought a 
farm from Sbietta for my lifetime." In brief, I told 
him the whole story in all its particulars, stating the 
bare truth without a stain of falsehood on it. Then 
when I came to the poison, I begged him, if I, his 
servant, had ever found favour in his sight, instead of 
punishing Sbietta or those who gave me the poison, 
rather to give them some reward. For the poison 
had not been enough to kill me, but just enough to 
cure me of a deadly viscosity, which had attacked my 
stomach and my intestines. So well had it done its 
work, and so much had it bettered my health, that, 
whereas in the condition in which I was, I had but 
three or four years to live, now I could look for- 
ward to more than twenty. "And so with better 


will than ever I give thanks to God. And, therefore, 
it is true what I have often heard folk say, 

* God sends us ill that good may come of it.* " 

The Duke was an attentive listener for more than 
two miles of our road. The only thing he said was, 
" Oh, the scoundrels ! " But I ended my tale by 
saying I was beholden to them ; and started other 
and pleasanter topics. I waited for the right day, 
and then finding him in a good humour, begged his 
Excellency to give me leave to go away, that I 
might not waste the years in which I should still be 
good for something. What was owing to me for 
my Perseus he might give to me when it pleased 
him. Then I went on to thank his lordship, 
and to pay him high compliments at great length. 
He answered nothing at all ; indeed he looked as if 
he had taken my words in ill part. Next day Messer 
Bartolommeo Concino, one of the Duke's chief 
secretaries, paid me a visit ; and said to me, in a rather 
overbearing way, "The Duke says that if you 
want to go, you can. But if you wish to work, 
he'll put work in your way. May you only be able 
for all his Excellency gives you to do ! " I replied 
that I desired nothing better than work, and from 
his most illustrious Excellency more than any other 
man in the world, were he pope, or emperor, or king. 
" I would more willingly serve him for a sou than 
any other for a ducat." Thereupon he said, "If 
you are of that way of thinking, you and he are 
agreed ; and there is no more to be said. So take 
your way back to Florence ; and be easy in your 
mind, for the Duke wishes you well." And so I 
returned to Florence. 

cix. As soon as I had got back, I had a visit from 

a man called RafFaellone Scheggia, a cloth-of-gold 

weaver. He said to me, " Benvenuto, my friend, I 

should like to make up the quarrel between you and 



Piermaria Sbietta." I replied that no one could do 
that save the Lords in Council ; and that on the 
present bench Sbietta would not have a Federigo de' 
Ricci, a man careless of God and his own honour, 
who, for the sake of two fat kids, would uphold so 
villainous a cause and fly in the face of holy justice. 
When I had said this and a great deal else, RafFaello 
still insisted with gentle obstinacy, that it is better to 
eat a thrush in peace than a fat capon got by strife. 
Besides, he said, it was the way of lawsuits to spin 
out to wearisome length ; and that I would do much 
better to spend my time in the production of some 
masterpiece, which would bring me a great deal 
more honour and profit. I knew it was the truth he 
was speaking ; so I began to lend an ear to his words, 
and in a short time we came to this agreement. 
Sbietta was to be my tenant on the farm at a rent of 
seventy gold crowns in gold a year, for all the time 
of my natural life. However, when the contract 
between us was drawn up by Ser Giovanni, Ser 
Matteo of Falgano's son, Sbietta declared that by 
our proposed arrangement we should pay a higher 
tax. He would stick to his word ; but it would be 
better that he should take the farm on a five years' 
lease ; and he promised he would renew it without 
provoking any further suits at law. His rascally 
brother, the priest, promised the same ; and so 
the contract was drawn up for five years. 

ex. I should like to speak of something else, and 
leave off talking for a while of all this shocking roguery; 
yet I must first of all tell what took place at the end 
of the five years. The two scoundrels then refused to 
keep a single one of their promises ; they were for 
giving up my farm, and renting it no longer. I 
complained loudly ; but they faced me boldly with 
the contract ; and I was helpless against this breach of 
faith on their part. So I told them that neither the 
Duke nor the Prince of Florence would tolerate 


such abominable treatment of their citizens ; and 
this threat put a terror on them so that they again 
sent to me Raffaello Scheggia, the man who had 
made it up between us before. They had said, you 
must know, that they would not pay me seventy 
gold crowns in gold, as they had done for the last 
five years ; and I had answered that I would take 
nothing less. Well, RafFaello came to see me, and 
he said, " Benvenuto my friend, you know I have 
your interests at heart. Now, they have left the 
whole affair to me " — and he showed me a declaration 
to this effect signed by them. I had no idea that he 
was a near relative of theirs ; and I thought I could 
not be better served than by him, and put myself 
unconditionally into his hands. Well, my fine 
gentleman comes to me one evening about half an 
hour past sundown — it was the month of August — 
and after a deal of palaver, he induced me to draw up 
the contract right away ; for he knew that were it 
put off till the morrow, the trick he was playing on 
me would fail. So the agreement was signed, whereby 
they bound themselves to pay me sixty-five crowns di 
moneta a year, in two instalments, for the term of my 
natural life. In vain did I chafe against it, and 
declare I would not abide it. Raffaello pointed to 
the agreement written in my own hand ; and so 
induced everyone to hold me in the wrong. He 
had done everything for my good, he declared ; he had 
been acting in my interest ; and as neither the notary 
nor any one else knew how nearly related he was to 
the other parties, everybody told me I was at fault. 
So I soon gave up the fight \ and now I must do my 
best to Hve as long as possible. But I blundered 
again a little after, in the December of next year, 
which was 1566; for I bought half the farm of 
Poggio from them, that is from Sbietta, for two 
hundred crowns di moneta. It was to revert to 
them at the end of three yrars ; and I let it out to 



them meanwhile. The farm borders on my land at 
La Fonte. I did this for the best. But it would 
take too long to write down all their villainous con- 
duct towards me. I give the matter into the hands 
of God, who has ever been my protector against 
such as have willed to do me harm. 

cxi. When I had brought my marble Crucifix to 
completion, it seemed to me that by raising it several 
cubits, it would show to much more advantage than 
did it rest on the ground. It looked very well as it 
was ; but when it was raised, its beauty was enhanced, 
and I was well satisfied with it. Then I began to 
show it to all who were curious to see it. As God 
willed, word of it was brought to the Duke and 
Duchess ; so that one day after they came back 
from Pisa, their Excellencies took me by surprise. 
With all the nobility of their court they came to my 
house, merely to see the Crucifix. It pleased them 
so much that neither the one nor the other could 
stop singing its praises ; and, of course, all the lords 
and gentlemen who were with them followed suit. 
Then when I saw how much they admired it, I 
thanked them, saying in something of a mildly 
jesting humour, that their refusal of the marble for 
the Neptune had been my opportunity of carrying 
through all the labours of the present work, the like 
of which no man had ever undertaken before ; and 
though it had cost me greater efforts than I ever 
made in all my life, I felt assured they had been well 
spent, more especially since their most illustrious 
Excellencies had heaped such praises on it. Then I 
added, " As I can never hope to find anyone more 
worthy of it than are your Excellencies, I make you 
a present of it with right good will." All I begged 
of them was that before they went away, they would 
deign to come down to the basement of my house. 
Thereupon they got up at once with the greatest 
good humour, left the shop with me, and entering 


my house, saw my little model of the Neptune 
and the fountain, which the Duchess had never seen 
before. She was so struck with the sight of it, that 
she uttered a great cry of wonder ; and, turning to 
the Duke, she said, " By my life, I never could have 
conceived the tenth part of such beauty as this ! " 
while the Duke went on repeating, " Didn't I tell 
you so ? " And they talked amongst themselves for 
a long time ; and it was all in compliment to me. 
Then the Duchess called me to her, and praised my 
work to me almost as if she were excusing herself. 
(Indeed, from her words you might have judged she 
was asking my pardon.) She said she would like me 
to have a block of marble dug up for myself, and 
then to set about the work. I answered that, if their 
Excellencies gave me the means of doing so, I would 
willingly, for love of them, begin the formidable 
undertaking ; whereupon the Duke replied, " Ben- 
venuto, whatever you require for the work will be 
given you ; and on my own account, I shall provide 
you with means far beyond what you can ask for." 
With these courteous words they took their leave, 
and I was very well content. 

cxii. Week after week passed by ; but there was 
no word of me and my commission ; and seeing no 
preparations made for it, I was nearly desperate. 
About this time the Queen of France sent Messer 
Baccio del Bene to our Duke, to negotiate a loan of 
money ; and the Duke granted the request most 
graciously, it was reported. Now Messer Baccio 
and I had once been very intimate ; and when we 
met again in Florence, we were most pleased to renew 
our intercourse. He told me of all the great honours 
done him by his Excellency ; and, in the course of 
our conversation, asked me if I had any great works 
on hand. So I told him the whole story of the huge 
Neptune statue and the fountain from the beginning, 
and the great injustice done me by the Duchess. 

Q 469 


On hearing this, he informed me that her Majesty 
was most eager to have the tomb of her late husband 
King Henry completed ; that Daniello of Volterra 
had undertaken to make for it a great bronze horse, 
but that the time was up in which he had promised 
it. The most splendid ornaments would be wanted 
for the tomb ; so if I would return to France, to my 
own castle, she would supply me with every conveni- 
ence for carrying on my work which I might ask for, 
had I but the will to serve her. I told Messer Baccio 
to ask me from my Duke ; for, were his Excellency 
willing, I should gladly return to France. Then 
Messer Baccio, in high spirits, said, "We shall go 
back together ; " and spoke as if the thing were done. 
So next day, in an interview with the Duke, he 
spoke of me, and said that if his Excellency would 
graciously permit it, the Queen would employ me 
in her service. Thereupon the Duke made answer, 
"Everybody knows what a clever man Benvenuto 
is ; but now he has no more desire to work ; " and 
then he talked about other things. The day after I 
went to see Messer Baccio, who told me everything. 
Then I could keep myself in no longer ; and I cried 
out, " Ah ! when His Excellency gave me nothing 
to do, I, on my own account, completed one of the 
most difficult works ever man attempted. It cost 
me more than two hundred crowns, which I paid out 
of my poverty. What, then, should I not have 
done if his Excellency had employed me ? I tell 
you of a truth, a great wrong has been done me." 
The worthy gentleman reported all my answer to 
the Duke ; whereupon his lordship told him it 
was all a joke, and that he wanted to keep me for 
himself. This angered me so, that many a time I 
was on the point of making off without anybody's 
leave. But the Queen dropped the subject, lest she 
should offend the Duke ; and I remained where I was, 
very ill pleased. 



cxiii. About this time the Duke set out on a 
iourney with all his court and all his sons, save the 
prince, who was in Spain. They made their way by the 
Sienese marshes to Pisa. The Cardinal was the first 
to be affected by the poisonous air of the Maremma. 
In a few days he was attacked by a pestilential fever ; 
and shortly after he died. He was as the Duke's 
right eye, a handsome youth, and a good ; and his 
death was a great misfortune. I let several days pass, 
till I thought their tears might be dried ; and then I 
set off for Pisa. 




Cellini wrote his Memoirs at intervals from 1558 
to 1566, but he carried his story no further than 
1562, and stopped there very abruptly. Old age and 
ill-health were on him, and the zest for life was 
passing — though perhaps his spirit was not quite 
so much bowed as the plaintive tone of his corre- 
spondence might lead us to beHeve ; for even in his 
lusty days his letters were apt to be pitched in a 
minor key. But at least the best was over : he had 
few more triumphs to record, and a good many petty 
defeats, disappointments, and chill neglect. He took 
up his pen again, but it was to retell part of the old 
tale in the Trattati. These, written for a special 
occasion, necessarily interrupted his work on the 
Memoirs^ and by the time they were finished it is 
possible that the domestic happiness he evidently 
enjoyed in his latter days may have had the effect of 
lulling his irritability — or shall we say diverting his 
self-assertion ? — and these with him were the chief 
impulses to autobiography. In 1565 he married Piera 
di Salvadore Parigi. She had been his servant and 
his mistress ; and he made her his wife out of grati- 
tude for her good nursing during the last serious illness 
recorded in the Memoirs^ the result, as he asserts, 
of his being poisoned by Sbietta and his rascally 
brother Ser Filippo. After his marriage his wife 
bore him two children — dolci figliuolini — a daughter 
and a son, Maddalena and Andrea Simone. But the 
children of the same mother, born out of wedlock, 
were also legitimised ; and one of these, Giovanni, 
was for several years his chief hope and treasure. 
There is a ring of real sorrow in his letter to Varchi 
telling of the death of the child — " In all my life I 


have never had anything more dear." 

But before the birth of Giovanni he had adopted 
a boy, Antonio, son of Domenico di Parigi, or Sputa- 
senni, perhaps a relative of Piera who became his 
wife. The boy's mother was Dorotea, Cellini's 
model for the Medusa ; Domenico his father was a 
cloth-weaver, afterwards a gate-keeper at Pisa and 
Florence, and always a scoundrel. While Domenico 
was in prison, Benvenuto lodged his wife and family, 
Tonino and Bita, in his own house ; and though he 
tried, without success, to get paid for their board, or 
at least made a very definite memorandum of their 
indebtedness to him, all the credit for his charity 
need not be taken from him, for he did his best to 
be a father to the boy, called him by his own name, 
and adopted him in the hope of training him as a gold- 
smith. Benvenutino could or would learn nothing. 
He hardly got to know his ABC or anything else in 
six years, says Cellini, who sent him to school to 
the frati of the Annunziata — evidently without any 
decided intention of making a friar of him. Cellini 
may not have been an ideal trainer of youth, but it 
appears he did what he could to interest the boy, 
now called Fra Lattanzio, and employ him profitably. 
For instance, we hear of his arranging with Fra 
Maurizio to teach him the organ. When Domenico, 
who had been in Pisa, came to take charge of one 
of the Florence gates, Benvenuto was naturally afraid 
lest all he and the friars had done for the lad would be 
wasted. So, while permitting him to receive visits 
from his parents (who by this time were complaining 
loudly of his being turned into a friar), and even 
urging on him particular courtesy towards them — he 
may even " kiss the ground on which they tread " — 
he forbade him to go to their house, where he would 
see " infinite poverty and filth." The boy snapped 
his fingers at the prohibition ; and, indeed, the friars 
seem to have upheld Benvenuto's authority very little. 



So in 1569 Cellini disinherited the scapegrace. Next 
year Domenico brought an action against him for 
breach of contract in the matter, and won. This 
meant that Benvenuto had not only to maintain 
Antonio, who had left the Annunziata, but that a 
claim was made on his estate. He appealed to the 
Duke, relating the disobedience and worthlessness of 
his former ward, and insisting on the fact that now 
he had a family of his own, very dear to him, and in 
need of all he could earn for them. In this appeal, 
by the way, he somewhat changes his tone about the 
condition of Antonio's parents, pleading that they 
are "young and make good earnings, while I am 
old and poor and earn nothing at all." The final 
judgment was that while he lived he should contri- 
bute to Antonio's support, but that after his death 
the Sputasenni should have no claim on his estate. 
The story of his relations with this family merits 
being related, not only because it is one of the few 
things told in detail in the Ricordi, but also because 
it seems to have occupied Benvenuto's mind a great 
deal during the last eleven years of his life. 

The other records are meagre enough, and mostly 
refer to money matters. His appeals to the Duke 
and his officers for payment of arrears of salary and 
for work done are constant. But that he plays so 
frequently the roU of begging-letter writer is a feet 
not entirely personal to Benvenuto. It was partly due 
to the conditions under which artists were patronised 
and supported by the later Medici. He was often 
underpaid, and sometimes not paid at all. Still money- 
making, whether from growing avarice, or from 2 
haunting fear of coming poverty for himself and his 
children, absorbed a good deal of his energies. He 
owned a considerable amount of property ; was much 
interested in investments ; and had now at least the will 
to be a good business man. Yet ora sono poverissimo 
is ever his cry. Of course, he had always an abund- 



ance of goldsmith's work to do ; but in his later 
days no great sculpture commissions were given 
him. Failing powers and the jealousy of rivals partly 
account for this, though the main cause was, doubt- 
less, the fact that his patrons preferred being less well 
served by men more docile and more easy-tempered. 
And his health was bad ; he suffered much from 
gout. At the death of Michael Angelo, in 1564, 
he was chosen along with Ammanati to represent 
sculpture at the great man's funeral, but he was not 
well enough to join in the ceremony. Neither did 
his health permit him to take part with his fellow- 
artists in the celebration of the marriage of Don 
Francesco, Duke Cosimo's eldest son, with Jane of 
Austria in the following year. When he recovered, 
he had the idea of paying his homage " not in clay 
or wood " but with his pen. And so he wrote the 
Trattati. But when it was published in 1568, after 
its revision by Spini, Don Francesco was perhaps not 
so high in the writer's favour ; for it was dedicated 
to his brother, the Cardinal Fernando. Yet to the 
end the regent employed him. Between 1568 and 
1570 CeHini painted his portrait in wax, which Don 
Francesco sent to his beloved Bianca Cappello. 

He lived for three years after the publication of the 
Trattati^ Ay'ing of pleurisy, February 13, 157 1, in 
his house in the Via del Rosaio in Florence. He 
was buried " with great pomp " in the Church of 
the Annunziata. Many were the candles and the 
lamps that were lit, we are told. His fellow-artists 
and the frati did him every honour. A friar pro- 
nounced a eulogy on his life and works, and " the 
good disposition of his soul and body ; " and the 
people crowded in to see the last of Benvenuto — 
who, in spite of his glory, had never been far re- 
moved from themselves — and to make the sign of 
the Cross over the body, once so restless, and now 
at peace. 



ii, p. 2, 1. 17, It need hardly be said that Cellini's account of the 
origin of Florence is, to say the least, very frag- 
mentary ; while, of course, his story of the origin 
of the name is merely an exaggerated example of 
the bragging {boriouta)^ which he has just been 
declaring natural to autobiographers. 

p. 2, 1. 19, " Colosseum." Supposed to have been near the 
modern Piazza Peruzzi. 

p. 2, 1. 21, "Old Market." The Mercato Vecchio was destroyed 
to make room for the present Piazza Vittorio 

p. 2, 1. 21, "The Rotonda." The earlier authorities declare 
this — now the famous Baptistery of St. John — 
to be the original temple dedicated to Mars in 
commemoration of the Roman victory over 
Etruscan Fiesole. Not improbably the main 
part of the existing building dates from the fourth 
century, and was modelled on the Pantheon, 
But some portions of it are as late as the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries. 

p. 2, 1. 23. "our Saint John."' St. John the Baptist, the patron 
saint of Florence. 

For the old legends of the origin of Florence 
see ViLLANi, li. c. 28 j and for the early history 
of the origin of the city see Villari, / frimi 
due secoli delia Storia di Firen%e, I. c. i., Florence, 
1898 J Davidsohn, Geschichte -von Florerm, Berlin, 
1896 ; and Gardner's Story of Florence, pp. 5 tt 
sej., Dent, 1900. 
iii. p. 4, 1. 21. " house in the Via Chiara." On No. 6 Via Chiara 
can be read to-day the inscription — In quetta caia 
nacqut Ben-venuto Cellini il di prima di Novembre del 
1500 e vi patsb i frimi anni. There it a mistake 
in the date. He was born on the 2nd of Nov- 

p. 4. 1. 31, Bartolommeo (Baccio) Cellini was a noted carver in 
wood } and it is curious his nephew does not 
record his fame. Vasari mentions him more 
than once. 











iii. p. 4, 1. 34, " Andrea Cellini . . . architecture." The truth 
seems to be that Andrea was a mason, not an 
architect. See Bacci's edition, p. 8. 
Cosa, i.e. Niccolosa. 

"half- past four." The hour was counted from 
sunset to sunset ; and so it is impossible to trans- 
late it into our terms of reckoning unless the 
season of the year be known. 
Welcome, i.e. Benvenuto. 

Lorenzo de' Medici the Magnificent died 1492. 
Piero his son was drowned in 1504. 
p. 9, 1. 13, "greater guilds of silk and wool." The seven 
greater guilds and the fourteen lesser were insti- 
tuted early in the thirteenth century. The 
former included such professions as medicine and 
law as well as the more important industries. 
vi, p. 9, 1. 24, " Piero when he was exiled." Nov. 9, 1494. 

p. 9, 1. 26, Soderini was the only gonfalonier of Florence elected 
for life (1502) ; but he was exiled in 15 12. 
p. 10, 1. 12, " Medici came back." Giovanni de' Medici, after- 
wards Pope Leo X., and Giuliano, Duke of 
Nemours, returned by the aid of the Spaniards 
in 1512. 
p. 10, 1. 17, "their palace." Now the Riccardi Palace, 
p. 10, 1. 18, " arms and insignia of the Commune." A red cross 

on a white ground. 
p. xo, 1. 34, Leo X., elected March 13, 1513 j d. 1521. 
p. II, 1. 2, Salviati, son-in-law of Lorenzo the Magnificent, 
was gonfalonier for only two months in 15 14. 
vii. p. II, I. 1$, "the Cavalicre Bandinello's father." Of the son, 
the eminent and most unpleasing sculptor, and 
Cellini's rival and enemy, much will be heard in 
the later part of the Memoirs. The father's 
name was Brandini ; his son changed it to Ban- 
dinello. He was a goldsmith of great ability. 
See Vasari's life of his son the sculptor, vol. vi. 
p. II, 1. 18, "coal-chandler." Bacci says this is a mistake j that 
his father was a blacksmith. 
viii. p. 12,1.21, " Giovannino de' Medici." The famous Giovanni 
delle Bande Nere, of the younger branch of the 
family, great-grand-nephew of Cosimo, fater 
patriae. His mother was the celebrated Caterina 
Sforza ; his son was Cosimo, the first Grand 
Duke of Florence. After a most distinguished 
career he died in 1526, at the age of twenty- 
eight, at Governo, killed by the Imperialist troops. 
Cellini wrote a eulogistic sonnet to his memory. 
See Mabellini, Rime, p. 215. 
p. 13, 1. 9, " the Eight." The criminal magistracy of the 
ix. p. 13, 1. 30, Clement VII. Later, one of Cellini's chief 



patrons. He wa« Giulio de' Medici, natural son 
of Giuliano, the brother of Lorenzo II Magnifico. 
Elected Pope 1523 j died 1533. 
ix. p. 14, 1. 33, "had mc dismissed." Bacci, op. cit. p. 12, gives a 
quotation from a document in the archives 
which puts a different complexion on this. 
There Giovanni is described as tenex et inhahilii 
ad unandum^ but on accoimt of his long service, 
gets a small pension. 
X. p. i6, 1. 37, Cecchino, i.e. diminutive of Francesco. 

p. 17, 1. 37, "Fish Stone." The fish-market on the quay. 
xii. p. 20, 1. 17, Torrigiani, popularly known as the man who 
broke Michael Angelo's nose, was a Florentine 
sculptor of eminence, whose work is well 
known in England from his monument to 
Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey. He went 
from England to Spain, where he felt himself to 
be so badly treated that, according to report, he 
starved himself to death. Cellini's description 
of him is borne out by Vasari in his life of him, 
vol. iv. 

p. 20, 1. 38, "cartoon of that most divine master." Cellini 
never swerved from his loyalty to and admiration 
of Michael Angelo. The cartoon referred to was 
executed in 1504-5 for the Sala del Consiglio in 
the Palazzo Vccchio. Hardly anything remains 
of it or of Leonardo's. Michael Angelo's repre- 
sented an episode in the battle of Cascina in 
the war with Pisa j Leonardo's the battle of 

p. 21, \. 24, " great chapel of Pope Julius." The Sistine Chapel, 
xiii. p. 21, L 30, " Church of the Carmine . . . Chapel of Masaccio." 
The Brancacci Chapel in the Carmine, Flor- 
ence, decorated by Masaccio (d. 1428) with in- 
cidents in the life of St. Peter. 

p. 22, 1. II, Francesco, son of Filippo. Filippo is Filippino Lippi, 
the eminent painter (d. 1504), son of the still 
more celebrated Fra Lippo Lippi. Cellini's 
friend, better known as Giovanfrancesco, gained 
great distinction in his own art. 

p. 22, 1. 31, II Tasso, b. 1500, d. 1555, was architect as well 
as carver in wood, and designed the Loggia of 
the Mercato Nuovo. See Vasari, ed. Milanesi 
(full reference in Index). 

p. 23, \. 6, "gate of San Pier Gattolini," better known as the 
Porta Romana. 
xiv. p. 24, L 36, Rotonda. The Church of Santa Maria della 

Rotonda in Rome, the ancient Pantheon. 
zv. p. 27, 1. 9, Salvadore and Michele Guasconti. Cellini speaks 
of Salvadore very amiably in his Treatises, p. 4. 



Kvi. p. 28, 1. 10, " in a cloak." Unless a man was a soldier, his 
wearing of a cloak instead of a citizen's mantle 
by day, was held to be a sign of ruffianism. 

p. 28, 1. 19, " Prinzivalle della Stufa was a strong partisan of the 
Medici and headed a conspiracy in their favour 
against the gonfalonier Sodcrini. He was made a 
senator by Duke Alessandro in 1532. Died 156 1. 

p. 28, 1. 33, "Puritan fellows with the tails of their hoods 
twisted up." This was the mark of the democratic 
party, republicans who clung to the principles of 

p. 29, 1. 2, " four bushels of flour." The fine was really twelve 
bushels. See Bacci, p. 32. 

p. 29, 1. 3, " Murate convent." A celebrated convent of closely 
immured nuns in Florence. Catherine Sforza died 
and was buried there. 

p. 30, 1. 20, "nor did I do them the very least harm." This 
is not true. Benvenuto wounded Gherardo 
Guasconti and another man very severely ; and 
for his violence was condemned to death by the 
Eight. See Bacci, p. 32. 
xviii. p. 30, 1. 27, Santa Maria Novella. The well-known Dominican 
church in Florence. 

p. 30, 1. 28, Alesso Strozzi. This was the friar who afterwards 
betrayed Fra Benedetto da Foiano. See note to 
I. 254. 

p. 32, 1. I, Benedetto da Montevarchi. The distinguished 
poet, scholar, and historian commonly known 
as Varchi, b. 1503, d. 1565. He was ever 
a good friend to Cellini, wrote a sonnet on his 
supposed death (see I. 177) j and, what is more 
creditable to him, refused to revise Cellini's 
manuscript. See I. xxxv. 

p. 32, 1. 17, the Paglia, river below Orvieto. 

p. 32, 1. 31, "bishop of Salamanca." Francesco de Bobadilla 
came to Rome in 15 17 to attend the Lateran 
Council ; was with Pope Clement VII. in the 
castle of St. Angelo, during the siege, in 1527. 

p. 32, 1, 34, Gianfrancesco. Gian Francesco Penni, Florentine 
painter, a favourite pupil and part -heir of 
Raphael. He and Giulio Romano strove to 
complete some of Raphael's unfinished works. 
He was surnamed II Fattore. B. 1496, d. 1536. 
See his life by Vasari, vol. iv. 

P' 33> 1« i> Chapel of Michel Agnolo, i.e. the Sistine Chapel. 

p. 33, 1. 2, "house of Agostino Chigi," built about 15 10 from 
designs of Peruzzi. After 1580 it became 
known as the Villa Farnesina. 

P« 33> 1« *7» " Madonna Porzia." Sigismondo Chigi's wife wa* 
called Sulpizia. She had a sister Porzia. See 
Bacci, p. 39. 



xviii. p. 34, 1. 12, " figure of Jupiter." In Raphael's painted story 
of Cupid and Psyche in the Chigi palace. 

xxiii. p. 39, 1. 37, Ferragosto, i.e. Feriae Augusti, a Roman festival 

on the ist of August. 
xxY. p. 45, 1. 23, " Cardinal Cibo . . . ordered a vase." Cellini 
refers to this vase and to Salamanca's in the 
Treatises^ p. 84. Cibo was a nephew of Leo X. 
p. 45, 1. 26, " Cardinal Cornaro." Marco Cornaro, nephew 
of the Queen of Cyprus. Died in Venice, 
where he had gone to escape the plague in 

Cardinals Ridolfi and Salviati were both nephews 
of Leo X. For Cellini's quarrel with the 
latter see L 118. 

p. 46, 1. I, " Leda with her swan." This medal may pos- 
sibly be identical with a cameo now in Vienna. 
See Plon, op. at. p. 140. 
xxvi. p. 46, 1. 16, St. John's day is the chief Florentine festival. 

p. 46, 1. 18, Rosso, a distinguished Florentine painter, and 
one of the artists whom Francis I. patronised, 
resided for some time at the French court. 
After a series of misfortunes he poisoned him- 
self in 1541. See Vasari, v. 

p. 46, 1. 26, Rienzo da Ceri, a noted captain of adventurers, 
at this time in the service of France. 

p. 48, 1. 17, Caradosso, noted medallist and goldsmith. Better 
known as Ambrogio Foppa. For Cellini's 
story of his nickname and his opinion of him 
see Treatise on Goldim'tthing, pp. 17, 45, 51. 

p. 48, 1. 19, " paxes." Small tablets wiSi sacred images and 
emblems, which are hung in Italian churches 
to be kissed by the faithful. 
xxvii. p. 49, 1. 12, "At this time," /.«. 1523. The plague had 

been at its height the year before. 
xxviii. p. 51, 1. 17, Giacomo Bcrengario da Carpi, a very distin- 
guished physician and surgeon, professor at 
Bologna. Died in Ferrara, and bequeathed 
his fortune to the Duke. For the later story 
of the vases see II. 16. 
xxix. p. 53, 1. 32, Jacocacci, probably Cardinal Jacobacci. 
XXX. p. 55, L 34, Michel Agnolo, the Sienese sculptor, must not 
be confused with the great Buonarroti. His 
most famous work was the monument of 
Adrian VI. in the German church, Santa 
Maria dell' Anima. But Peruzzi made the 
design for it. 

p. 56, 1. 4, Giulio Romano, 1492- 1546, celebrated painter 
and architect j pupil and heir of Raphael. 
Worked for Clement VII., for the Chigi, and 
afterwards in the famous Palace del Tc at 
Mantua. See Vasari, vol, v. 



XXX. p. 56, 1. 21, Bachiacca. Either Francesco or Antonio Verdi, 

twin brothers, who both bore this surname. 

The former was a miniature painter, the latter 

an embroiderer. 

xxxii. p. 63, 1. 32, Luigi Pulci, grandson of the famous author of 

the Morgante. 
xxxiv. p. 70, 1. 21, "the whole world was in arms." The war 
between Charles V. and Francis I. had broken 
out in 152 1. At the moment referred to 
by Cellini the Pope had broken with the 
Emperor, who was sending the Constable of 
Bourbon to attack Rome (1527), 

p. 70, 1. 22, Giovanni de' Medici, i.e. Giovanni delle Bande 

P' 70> !• 35, Bourbon. Charles of Bourbon broke with his 
cousin, Francis I., in 1523, and joined the 
Emperor. Now at the head of a body of 
Germans and cosmopolitan bandits he was 
marching on Rome. He was killed by a 
shot from the walls. Cellini claims the 
credit of the deed ; but no one confirms his 

p. 71, 1. I, "the Colonnesi." Headed by Pompeo Colonna, 
they roused the populace, and forced Clement 
to take refuge in St. Angelo till he signed a 
treaty in favour of the Emperor, 1526. 

p. 72, 1. 5, Orazio Baglioni was one of the great and fierce 
Perugian family of that name. He was a 
prisoner of the Pope in St. Angelo ; but 
Clement released him for the defence of the 
castle and the city. He was afterwards com- 
mander of the Bande Nere, Died fighting at 
Naples, 1528. 
XXXV. p. 74. I. 34, Duke of Urbino. Francesco Maria della Rovere, 
general of the papal troops. Cellini's veiled 
taunt (p. 75) was well deserved by his in- 
capacity and probable treachery. 
xxxvi. p. 75, 1. 12, Cardinal de' Gaddi was given as a hostage to the 
Imperialists, and sent to Naples. When 
Alessandro de' Medici was murdered, he made 
a vain attempt to re-establish the Florentine 
republic. Died 1552. He appears more than 
once in Cellini's story. 

p. 76, 1. 5, Cardinal Farnese, afterwards Pope Paul III. 

p. 77, 1. 20, " revenged my father on . . . Salviati." See 
I. II. 

p. jjy I. 26, "had I killed him." An allusion to Cellini's 
long imprisonment in St. Angelo by Pope 
Paul III. 
zxxvii. p. 79, L 27, Gian di Urbino, a distinguished Spanish cap- 
tain serving under the Prince of Orange. 




xxxviii. p. 80, 1. 9, Filippo Strozzi married a daughter of Piero dc' 
Medici, but was one of the sturdiest opponents 
of that family. After the unfortunate battle 
of Montemurlo he killed himself, or was 
killed by the orders of Duke Cosimo, in prison 
in 1539. 

p. 80, 1. 24, " made myself a little furnace." See Treatius, 
p. 82. 

p. 81, 1. 10, Prince of Orange. Philibcrt de Chalons deserted 
the service of Francis I. for that of the 
Emperor, and succeeded Bourbon as head of 
the besieging army. Died 1530 at the battle 
of Gavinana. 
zzxiz. p. 82, 1. 20, " peace was made." The castle surrendered on 
the 5 th of June j but Clement remained a 
prisoner till December 8. 

Though Benvenuto certainly helped in the 
defence of St. Angelo, his account of the siege 
and his own prowess must be received with 
caution. For the chief authorities on the 
sack of Rome see Bacci, of>. cit. p. 71. 
xl. p. 84, L 29, Palazzo del Te, outside the Porta Pusterla 
at Mantua, built by Giulio Romano, and 
decorated by him and other distinguished 

p. 84, 1. 33, "reliquary for the Blood of Christ." See Plon, 
p. 156. 

p. 85, 1. 14, "the Cardinal his brother." Ercole, brother of 
Duke (at this time Marquis) Frederico 
Gonzaga, was Bishop of Mantua, and Cardinal 
in 1527. Regent after his brother's death. 
Died while presiding over the Council of 
Trent, 1563. 

p. 85, 1. 35, "Signer Giovanni," ix. Giovanni delle Bande 

p. 86, 1. 12, "died of the plague." About 40,000 persons 
died in Florence between May and November 

p. 86, 1. 15, Liperata, i.e. Reparata. 
xli. p. 87, 1. 15, "Medici exiled." When Clement was shut up 
in St. Angelo, the Florentines took the oppor- 
tunity of restoring the republic under the 
gonfalonier Niccolo Capponi. But when the 
Pope made peace with the Emperor, he be- 
sieged Florence, and took it j and Alessandro 
de' Medici became Duke. 

p. 89, I. 6, Luigi Alamanni, man of letters and poet, one 
of the most distinguished opponents of the 
Mcdiccan tyranny, was exiled to France, where 
he lived under the protection of Francis I. 
Died 1556. 



xli. p. 92, 1. II, "not money enough." This hardly agrees with 
his earlier statement on p. 83. 
xliii. p. 93, 1. 26, " button for my cope." This famous piece of 
Cellini's workmanship was, according to Plon 
(p. 145), taken out of its setting, and the gold 
of it along with that of other precious jewels 
helped to pay the war tributes of Napoleon. 
xlv. p. 97, 1. 30, " dies made for his money." See Treatises, p. 67. 
p. 97, 1. 36, " datary." The Papal Datario was the chief 
secretary of the office for requests, petitions, 
and patents, 
xlvi. p. 100, 1. 21, Giovanni Gaddi, Florentine, a great patron of 
art and letters. He was the dean of the 
Apostolic Camera, or Exchequer. 

p. 100, 1. 26, Antonio AUegretti, Florentine poet. Annibal 
Caro, 1507-1566, Gaddi's secretary, one of the 
most celebrated writers of the day. He was 
a good friend of Cellini, though well aware 
of his incorrigible temper. See Plon, p. 95. 

p. 100, 1. 29, Messer Bastiano, the Venetian (1485-1547), the 
famous painter, better known as Sebastian del 
Piombo. See Vasari, vol. v. 

p. loi, 1. 16, "coin of the value of two carlins. See Treatises^ 
p. 68. 
xlvii. p, 102, 1. 3, Bargello, i.e. the chief of police. 

p. 102, 1. 19, Bertino Aldobrandi. An account of him and 
of his death is given by Varcrj, Storia Fior. 
1. xi. 
xlix. p. 104, 1. 35, Torre di Nona. The criminal prisons. 

p. 106, 1. I, "that valiant soul passed out." For an account 
of Cecchino Cellini's death see Varchi, Storia 
Fior. 1. xi. 
1. p. lo6, 1. 5, "church of the Florentines." The original S. 
Giovanni de' Fiorentini, Rome, was begun 
under the pontificate of Leo X. Jacopo da 
Sansovino, San Gallo, and Michael Angelo 
were the architects. 
I p. 106, 1. 17, "epigram." This memorial inscription is no 

J longer to be read in the church. 

p. 106, 1. 26, Cecchino del Piffero, i.e. Frank the piper's son. 

p. 107, 1. 9, "real Cellini arms." Plon, p. 2, reproduces a 
drawing of the family arms from the hand of 
Benvenuto, which is in the National Library 
at Florence. 

p. Ill, 1. 34, Francesco del Nero, who cast suspicion on 
Cellini, was not too honest himself, according 
to report. He was suspected of appropriating 
to himself the public funds in Florence when 
he was depositario there. See Vaechi, 1. iii. 

p. Ill, 1. 35, Bishop of Vaison, near Avignon. He was 
Girolamo Schio, Clement's confessor, 



Iv. p. 115,1. 6, "huge inundation," October 8 and 9, 1530. 
According to its historian Comesio, this took 
place without warning, no rains having fallen 
for some time back. 
Ivi, p. n6, L 20, Fraternity of the Piombo. The Piombo is the 
office in the Papal court where seals of lead 
(piombo) are attached to Bulls. Laymen were 
sometimes appointed to it, among the most 
famous being the great architect Bramante and 
Sebastiano Veneziano (del Piombo). When 
the latter got it, it was his undoing, for he 
did little more work. 

p. 117, L 25, Bartolomeo Valori, Florentine, devoted to the 
Medici till he experienced their ingratitude, 
when, he joined Filippo Strozzi's conspiracy. 
Beheaded in X537. See Varchi, U. xii. and 

p. 118, 1. 15, Roberto Pucci, Florentine, also a Medici parti- 
san, but more faithful than Valori. He tried 
to persuade Clement against attacking Florence. 
Ivii. p. 118, 1. 30, "Pope went . . . to Bologna" — to meet Charles 
V. and discuss a league against the Turks, 
also a council about religious differences. 
Ix. p. 123, 1. II, Tobbia. It appears he was not a Milanese but a 

p. 123, 1. 31, " King Francis." He and Clement met at 
Marseilles in 1533, at the marriage of 
Catherine de* Medici and the Due d 'Orleans, 
son of the French King. 

p. 124, 1. 22, "Wardrobe." This apartment was armoury 
and general store-house in the palace. 

p. 125,1. 19, "take away the Mint from me." This was 
probably at the end of 1533. 
liii. p. 130, 1. 27, "my chalice in my hand." For a description 
of this work, which was finished by Niccolo 
Santini, sec Plon, pp. 162 et seq. 

p. 132, 1. 8, Felice Guadagni, one of Benvenuto's most 
faithful friends. 
Ixv. p. 136, 1. 26, Badia di Farfa, in the Sabine hills. 
Ixvii. p. 140, 1. I, Cardinal de' Medici. Ippolito de' Medici, natural 
son of Julian, Duke of Nemours, was as much 
soldier as Churchman. He conspired against 
Alessandro j then offered his services to 
Charles V. in the expedition to Tunis j but 
died in Apulia in 1555, some say poisoned. 

p. 140, I. 22, Giovanbatista Savello, a Roman gentleman, 
captain of cavalry troops in the service of 
Clement VII. At Palombara, about twenty 
miles from Rome, near Mte. Gcnnaro, can 
still be seen the Savclli Castle. 

p. 140, 1. 32, Solosmeo. Antonio da Settignano, a mediocre 



sculptor, pupil of Sansovino. He was only 
one of several artists employed on the tomb 
of Piero de' Medici (son of Lorenzo il 
Magnifico, drowned 1504). Their common 
hatred of Bandinelli was a bond between him 
and Cellini. See Vasari's Life of Bandinelli^ 
vol. vi. 
Irviii. p. 141, 1. 14, Carlo Ginori. Gonfalonier of Florence for two 
months in 1527. 
p. 142, 1. 27, Viceroy of Naples. Pietro Alvarez de' Toledo, 
Marquis of Villafranca. Elected 1532. Died 

Ixx. p. 146, 1. 3, " Peace was represented." The medal was to 
celebrate the peace which lasted from 1530 to 
1536. For another description of it see 
Treatises, p. 73. 

p. 146, 1. 16, Carnesecchi, a Florentine, secretary of Clement 
VII., and a great patron of letters. He be- 
came acquainted with Valdes in Naples, and 
Melancthon in France, and his opinions being 
much influenced by theirs, he was accused of 
heresy, and beheaded and burnt in Rome in 
Ixxi. p. 148, 1. lyUt bibat populus, in allusion to a great well sunk 
by Clement in 1528 at Orvieto, the monu- 
mental part of which was made by Antonio 
da San Gallo. The medal is described in 
Treatises, p. 73. The dies are preserved in 
the Uffizi. 
Ixxii. p. 148, 1. 25, The Pope died, September 25, 1534. 
Ixxiv. p. 151, 1. 5, Cardinal Cornaro. Francesco Cornaro, brother 
of the Marco Cornaro mentioned on p. 45. 

p. 152, 1. 9, " Cardinal Farnese was made Pope." Alessandro 
Farnese, elected Pope as Paul III., October 

I3> 1534- 
p. 152, 1. 13, Latino Juvinale (or Giovenale) de' Manetti, 

celebrated as poet and scholar, a friend of 

Bembo, of Castiglione, and of all the chief 

men of letters of his day. 
Ixxv. p. 153, I. 2, "Saint Paul." See Plon, p. 199. 

p. 153, 1. 15, "Holy Maries in August." A Florentine name 

for the feast of the Assumption, August 15. 

Cellini was liberated by the Confraternity of 

the Butchers. 
p. 153, 1. 18, "another safe -conduct." A translation of the 

text of this new motu propria is given by 

Plon, op. cit. p. 33. 
p. 153, 1. 25, Pier Luigi Farnese, son of Pope Paul III., had 

honours and offices heaped on him by his 

father. In 1545 he was made Duke of Parma 

and Piacenza, He was a worthless and danger- 



ous scoundrel. His own courtiers rid the world 
of him in 1547. 
Ixxvi. p. 156, 1. 12, II Tribolino (i 500-1 550). Niccolo de' Pericoli, 
Florentine sculptor and architect, pupil of 
Jacopo Sansovino, did some important works 
m Rome, Bologna, and Loreto. His chief em- 
ployers were the Medici. Made a model of 
the city of Florence for Clement VII. during 
the siege. Sec Vasari, vol. vi. 

p. 156, 1. 14, Jacopo del Sansovino. Giacopo Tatti, Floren- 
tine sculptor, pupil of Andrea Contucci dal 
Monte a Sansovino. At the sack of Rome 
he went to Venice, after which he was mainly 
engaged in architecture. Died 1570. See 
Vasari (ed, Milanesi, vol. ix. Index). 

p. 156, 1. 28, Lorenzo Cibo, brother of Cardinal Cibo. He 
was jealous of Alessandro's attentions to 
his wife, and conspired with the Cardinal de' 
Medici against the Duke. 

p. 157, 1. 5, Ser Maurizio, a Milanese, head of the Florentine 
criminal court. Segni calls him " cruel and 
bestial " in the execution of his office. 

p. 157, 1. 16, Duke of Ferrara. Ercole II. 

p. 157, 1. 31, Jacopo Nardi (1476-1563), the celebrated Floren- 
tine historian, and one of the most patriotic 
and upright of the anti - Mediccan party. 
Exiled to Leghorn in 1530, and afterwards to 
Venice, where he wrote the history of his 
country and translated Livy. The two Ben- 
intendis were exiled in 1530. Niccolo had 
been one of the Eight. 
l«xx. p. 163, 1. 38, dies for his money. Cellini refers to his Floren- 
tine coins in the Treatises, p. 68. 

p. 165, 1. 16, "his wife ... in Naples." Margaret of 
Austria, the illegitimate daughter of the Em- 
peror, betrothed to Alessandro in 1530. The 
marriage took place in Naples, 1536. When 
she arrived in Florence, some months later, she 
was fourteen. 

p. 165,1. 33, "his Lorenzino." Of the younger branch of 
the Medici family, son of Pierfrancesco. 
He murdered his cousin Alessandro in 1537 j 
and was himself murdered in Venice in 
Ixxxi. p. 165, L 36, Ottaviano de' Medici. A distant connection of 
the Duke's, being descended from neither 
Cosimo Pater patriae nor his brother Lorenzo. 
He gained great power ; was even suggested as 
Alessandro's successor; but was exceedingly 

p. 167, 1. 32, "reverse worthy of his Excellency." So Loren- 



zino grimly jests about his murderous project^ 
which was long in his mind. 
Ixxxiv. p. 173, 1. 16, Mattio Franzesi, well known and very popular 
in the literary society of the day as a burlesque 
poet and a wit. 
p. 177, 1. 16, "Whom thou didst shadow." A reference to 
Cellini's representation of the Almighty on 
the Pope's button. See p. 96. In the original 
MS. the Sonnet is signed by Varchi. 
Ixxxvi. p. 180, 1. 24, Cellini arrived in Florence, November 9, 1535. 
p. 181, 1. 12, Giorgetto Vassellario, i.e. Giorgio Vasari (1512- 
1574), the painter, and famous biographer of 
Italian artists. In spite of their differences, 
his judgment of Cellini was just and even 
lenient, though he did not write a separate 
Life of him. Vasari also speaks well of 
Manno the goldsmith, mentioned in this 
curious anecdote. 

38, Francesco Soderini, banished to Spello in 1530 
as an enemy to the Medici. 

10, "Duke Alessandro was Pope Clement's son." 
This was the general rumour ; but some said 
his father was Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino. 

33, " death of Duke Alessandro." He was murdered 
by Lorenzino de' Medici on the night of the 
5th January 1537. 

23, " Cosimo . . . was made Duke." Cosimo was 
elected on January 9, 1537. 
5, " Tunis expedition." Here Cellini has turned 
back a year or two. The Emperor reached 
Naples from Tunis, November 30, 1535. He 
entered Rome, April 5, 1536. 
9, Respecting the Crucifix, the book of Offices, 
etc., see Treatises, pp. 32, 33. 

26, For an interesting account of the tinting of the 
diamond see Treatises, pp. 32-39. 

33, Signor Sforza. His mother was the daughter 
of Paul III. He afterwards became a dis- 
tinguished captain, first in the Imperial, and 
later in the French army. 
p. 196, 1. 3, Ascanio. This boy makes many appearances in 
Cellini's Memoirs. He accompanied him to 
France, and remained there after he left, as 
goldsmith to Henri II. He married a 
daughter of the famous della Robbia family 
of artists. It appears that he became Seigneur 
de Beaulieu. 
Tciv. p, 200, \. 9, Bembo, b. Venice 1470, d. 1547, elected 
Cardinal X539, but better known as a man 
of letters and a patron of learning than as a 


Ixxxviii. p. 183, 1. 
p. 184, 1. 

Ixxxix. p. 1S6, 1. 

p. 187, 1. 
xc. p. 188, I. 

p. 188, 1. 

xcii. p. 192, 1. 
xcUi. p. 195, 1. 


xciv. p. 200, 1. 22, " his portrait." It is very doubtful whether the 
medal was ever finished by Cellini. See Plon 
on the subject, p. 328. 
xcv. p. 202, 1. 1, "the war," i.e. between the Imperialists and the 
French in Piedmont, terminated by the Treaty 
of Nice, 1537. 

p. 202, 1. 23, Filippo Strozzi. Then at the head of the 
Florentine exiles. See note to p. 80. 
xcviii. p. 207, 1. 31, Antonio da San Gallo, the younger, pupil of 
his uncles Antonio and Giuliano, worked at 
Loreto, Orvieto, and Rome, where he was 
employed on St. Peter's. See his Life by 
Vasari, vol. v. 

p. 209, 1. 4, " Cardinal of Ferrara." Ippolito d'Este, son of 
Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara. Lived some time 
at the court of France. A patron of art and 
xcix. p. 209, 1. 28, The river is probably the Doveria in the Val di 
Vedro, Tyrol. 
c. p. 213, 1. 23, Girolamo Orsini, lord of Bracciano, a famous 
soldier. His wife was Francesca Sforza. His 
son, Duke of Bracciano, married Duke 
Cosimo's daughter, Isabella, killed her, and 
then married Vittoria Accoramboni, the 
heroine of Webster's WAite Devil. 

p, 216, 1. 3, "a taste of prioon." He was arrested October 
16, 1538. 
ciii. p. 219, 1. 10, Cesare Iscatinaro. This should be Giovan 
Bartolommeo Gattinara who discussed the 
arrangements (which fell through) with 
Clement VII. for the capitulation. 

p. 220, 1. 19, "speaking these words." The official report of 
the interrogating exists, and was published by 
Bertolotti. There Benvenuto seems to pl*y 
a less hardy and lets eloquent part. 
civ. p. 220, 1. 33, Monseigneur de Montluc, afterwards Bishop of 
Valence. Chief agent in the election of 
Henri of Anjou to the throne of Poland. 
His brother Blaise was the celebrated Marshal. 

p. 222, 1. 27, "friar of the Pallavicini " family. Imprisoned 
in 1538 (probably not for the last time) for 
over seven months as a heretic. He was 
known as a celebrated preacher, 
cvi. p. 227, L 13, " Jeronimo the Perugian," Cellini's former assist- 
ant, who travelled with him to France, and at 
whose instigation he was imprisoned. 
ex. p. 235, 1. 9, Church of the Transpontina, /.*. S. Maria della 

p, 235, 1. 29, The Duchess. Natural daughter of the Emperor, 
married Alessandro de' Medici, and after his 
murder, Ottavio Farnese, nephew of Paul III, 



She made her entry into Rome on November 

3, 1538. 
ex. p. 238, 1. 37, "di Parco Majori," the CoUegi degli Abbrevia- 
tori di Parco maggiore t minore, instituted by 
Pope Paul II. Alessandro Farnese (Paul III.) 
did, indeed, break prison, but it appears it wai 
under Innocent VIII. 
cxx. p. 254, 1. 12, " Preacher Foiano." Fra Benedetto Tiezzi of 
Foiano, of the Dominican Order, attached to 
the convent of Sta. Maria Novella, an adherent 
of Savonarola, and a lover of liberty. During 
the siege of Florence he preached eloquently 
against the Medicean tyranny, and was im- 
prisoned by Clement VII. in St. Angelo, and 
starved to death. 
p. 255, 1. 18, "Sammalo." Rusconi and Valeri say the name 
of this horrible oubliette was derived from San 
Marocco, from the image of a saint, or a chapel 
near its mouth. 
cxxiv. p. 257, I. 34, in 1538. This should be 1539. 

p. 263, 1. 10. Durante, Prefect of the Camera, afterwards 
Bishop of Brescia and Cardinal, learned in 
letters and in law. Benvenuto does not shirk 
charging men of the highest repute with 
crime. The Leone mentioned below was a 
celebrated sculptor and goldsmith, and some- 
what Cellinesque in temperament. In 1540 
he was sent to the galleys for violence. Sec 
his Life by Vasari, vol. viii. 
cxxvi. p, z66, 1. 22, Cardinal Farnese. Son of Pier Luigi Farnese, and 
Archbishop of Parma. He was ambitious for 
the papacy j but the Medici party strenuously 
opposed him. 

cxxvii. p. 267, 1. 22, " took me out of prison." The date, according 
to Bacci, was December 24, 1539. That at 
least is the date given in the order for his re- 
lease. But letters of Caro and Alamanni 
would seem to prove he was let go early in 
the month. 

cxxviii. p. 268, 1. 24, "all that afterwards happened to Signor Pier 
Luigi," i.e. his murder eight years later. 

Capitolo, The Capitolo is written in Tcrza Rima, but 

it has seemed to me an indefensible waste of 
ingenuity to fit English rhymes to what in the 
original is turgid, slipshod, and slovenly. Its 
subject-matter has enough interest to justify a 
prose translation. 
p. 272, 1, 7, " yet would He come, etc." Here one is re- 
minded of the song of another Italian prisoner 
of a very different stamp, Fra Jacopone da 



Troppo giaccio a la piscina, 

Pur aspetto mi sia detto, 
Ch'io mi lievi, e toUa '1 Ictto. 

La mia matre Religione 

Fa gran pianto con sua scorta, 

L'alta voce udir opta, 

Che mi dica, Vecchio surge. 

p. 272, 1. 13, "The lilies." The Farnesi arms contained seven 
lilies " with the hook-like petals j " those of 
Florence one, and those of France three. 

p. 272, 1. 18, The Archangel Gabriel is generally depicted 
with a lily in pictures of the Annunciation. 

p. 272, 1. 31, In his visions he says he had premonitions of 
etc. the death of the castellan and of Pier Luigi. 

p. 273, 1. I, "The angel." Sec I. 268. 

p. 273, 1. 13, "Was never lion, etc." In this and the follow- 
ing lines Pier Luigi is meant. 

p. 273, 1. 24, " November." He had told the jailers he would 
be released in November, 



i. p. 176, 1, 27, " Saint Ambrogio pursuing the Arians." St 
Ambrose is the patron saint of Milan. At the 
battle of Parabiago, 1339, he is said to have 
suddenly appeared on horseback in aid of his 
countrymen against Lodovico Visconti. Ever 
after he was pictorially represented as a horse- 
man, but dressed in pontifical robes. For 
this medal see Plon, p. 192. 

ii. p. ijif I. 38, "this work." For its execution see 340. 

iii. p. 279, 1. 16, " Tornon." Cardinal Tournon, a famous min- 
ister of Francis I. 
p. 280, L 13, "Monte Ruosi," i.e. Monterosi, between Rome 
and Viterbo, on the road to Florence. 

iv. p. 284, 1. 17, Staggia is between Siena and Poggibonsi. 

T. p. 284, 1. 29, Dukeof Amalfi. Alfonso Piccolomini, governor 
of Siena for Charles V. 

▼i. p. 287, U I, "more than 300,000 ducats." The sum was 
180,000, in return for which the investiture 
of the D'Estes was confirmed. 
vii. p. 289, 1. 30, "ring for the cramp." These metal rings are 

still in vogue for various ailments. 
viii. p. 290, L 16, Alfonso de' Trotti. This minister of the Duke 
of Ferrara was afterwards a tenant of Cellini 
in a house he had in the Piazza S. Maria 
Novella, Florence. See Bianchi, p. 528. 
p. 291, 1. z8, " paid me wretchedly." This hardly agrees with 
his earlier version of the story. See 51. 

ix. p. 292,1. 38, "the misgiving." He does not explain what it 
was he feared, 
p. 293, 1. 13, Fontainebleau. Cellini probably arrived there 
September 1540. 

X. p. 296, 1. 5, Dauphine. Dimier (o/>. cit.) says Francis was in 
Paris at the time. 

xi. p. 297,1. 18, "that infinite beauty." See 259. 
xii. p. 299,1. 28, "Petit Nesle." Part of the famous Chateau or 
Tour de Nesle, on the left bank of the Seine. 
The Institute and the Mint occupy its site 



XT. p. 303, L 31, Madame d'Etampes, Anne de Pisseleu had 
been a maid of honour of Francis's mother, 
Louise of Savoie. Her husband, Jean dc 
Brosse, was made Due d'Etampes. As the 
King's mistress she wielded great power, but 
her influence was partly due to her own strong 
mind and will. In her later years she became 
a Calvinist. She died 1576. 

p. 303, L 31, Cardinal of Lorraine, son of Rend II., Duke of 
Lorraine and titular King of Jerusalem. 

p. 303, 1, 33, King of Navarre, Henri II. Marguerite de 
Valois, his wife, sister of Francis I., was one 
of the most justly distinguished women of her 
generation. She was the author of the Hep- 
tameron, and a staunch friend to freedom of 

p. 303, 1. 35, " Dauphin." Afterwards Henri II. His wife 
was Catherine de' Medici, 
xvii. p. 307,1. 16, "Pont du Change." The Pont Neuf now takes 

its place. 
xix. p. 3IZ, 1. 18, Piero Strozzi, son of Filippo Strozzi. After 
the defeat of the Florentine exiles at Monte- 
murlo he entered the service of Francis I., 
who made him a marshal. 

p. 312, 1. 22, "letters of naturalisation." The document 
is given by Bianchi, p. 579. The King's 
letter putting him in possession of the Petit 
Nesle will also be found in Bianchi, p. 581. 
XX. p. 314, 1. 25, twelve leagues. "Leagues" should be "miles." 
xxi. p. 315, U 16, "That diabolic war." For abofjt five years, 
1537- 1542, there had been peace between 
Charles V. and Francis I. War broke out 
again in May 1542, and lasted till the Treaty 
of Crdpy, 1544. 

p. 316, 1. 12, The Nymph was never placed on the chateau 
door. After the death of Francis I. it was 
given by Henri II. to Diane de Poitiers, who 
placed it above her door at Anet. It is now 
in the Louvre. 

p. 316, 1. 23, The Salamander was the device of Francis I. 
It is seen on many royal buildings and coins 
of his time. 
Exiv. p. 320, 1. 22, Guido Guidi, bom in Florence, grandson of the 
painter Domenico del Ghirlandajo, was in 
France from 1542 to 1548 as court physician. 
Afterwards he was professor at Pisa. His 
book on medicine, or rather on surgery, men- 
tioned here, was a translation of Hippocrates 
and Galen, printed at Paris, 1544. Guido'i 
printer (and Benvenuto's evicted tenant) wss 
Pierre Gauthier. 

R 493 


xxvi. p. 323, 1. 5, Primaticcio was employed by Fran9oi8 I., Henri 
II., and Francois II. See his Life by Vasari, 
vol. vii. 
xxvii. p. 325, 1. 23, " Dante . . . made use of this saying." The 
reference is to 

Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe, 
Comincio Pluto con la voce chioccia. 

Inf. vii. 6. 

Cellini's interpretation is only a little more 
fantastic than that of the other commen- 
tators of whom he speaks so contemptu- 
ously. It is possible that Dante was in Paris. 
It is doubtful if Giotto ever was ; and of their 
journey there in company there is no evidence 
at all. 
Kxxiii. p. 337, IL 16-20, *' Bologna . . . knew . . . I was right." But 
it seems Primaticcio got the commission after 
all. It may have been after the departure of 

xxxiv. p. 338, 1. 5, Prior of Capua, Leone Strorzi. Like his brother 
Piero he was in the service of France. Was 
killed in the Sienese war in 1554. 

xxxvi. p. 340,1. 6, "the salt-cellar." This is one of the most 
famous of Cellini's existing works. It is now 
in Vienna. It was given to the Archduke 
Ferdinand of Austria, and remained for some 
time in his castle of Ambras in the Tyrol. 
After his death it was sold to the Emperor 
Rudolf II. See Plon, p. i68. 
xxxvii. p. 341,1. 24, "the Laocoon, etc." Primaticcio was helped in 
the casting of these copies by Vignola. Some 
of the casts are preserved in the Louvre, 
xxxviii. p. 343,1. 34, "the Emperor . . . advancingon Paris." Charles 
V. in 1544 occupied Luxembourg, entered 
Champagne ; and it looked as if the siege of 
Paris was at hand. 

xxxix. p. 345,1. 21, Claude d'Annebaut, marshal and admiral of 

France. He had been fellow-prisoner with 

Francis I. at Pavia, and was deservedly high 

in the King's favour. 

xl. p. 346, 1. 26, Grolier. The famous Jean Grolier, the great 

collector of books and medals. 
xli. p. 348,1. 1, Jupiter. For this statue see Plon, p. 181. It 
was the only one of the twelve ordered by 
Francis which Cellini finished. But no trace 
of it exists, 
xlii. p. 351, 1. 38, "/« Moine Bourreau" (the hangman monk). 
Other readings of Cellini's Lemonnio Boreo are 
Le Demon Bourreau, and Le Maine hourru, i.e. 
•vetu de bowre on bure. 



xliii. p. 352, 1. 33, *' Asino Bue " = A88 and Ox. 

p. 352, I. 36, Bellarmato, an exiled Sienese, was one of the 
greatest military architects of his time, in spite 
of Cellini's low opinion of him. Francis I. 
appointed him his engineer-in-chief. At this 
time he fortified the faubourgs of Montmartre 
and Saint Antoine. 
xliv. p. 353, L 6, "Madame d'Etampes betrayed the King." There 
seems some reason for this statement. From 
jealousy of Diane de Poitiers she is said to 
have prevented the bridge of Epernay being 
destroyed before the advance of the Imperial 
troops. Seeing them on their way to Paris, 
Francis had to make ruicous concessions. 
Klviii. p. 358, 1. 33, The peace of Crepy, Sept. 18, 1544. But 
Henry VIII. was no party to it, and hostilities 
between the French and English lasted till 

p. 360, I. 20, This account of his leaving France hardly tallies 
with that in the Treatises, p. 144. 
li. p. 365, I. 15, Landi. Whether the Landi actually did the 
deed is doubtful ; but they were in the con- 
spiracy, and in the palace at the time. 
lii. p. 366, I. 30, "six young daughters." Two of them took the 
veil in Sant' Orsola, Florence. After the 
death of her husband Tassi, Liperata married 
one of Cellini's workmen, Paolo Paolini. 
liii. p. 367, 1. 13, Poggio a Cajano, the well-known Mcdicean villa 
on the road to Prato, a few miles from 

p. 367, 1. 24, Duchess. Eleonora di Toledo, daughter of the 
Viceroy of Naples, married Duke Cosimo in 


p. 368, 1. 7, "wonderful school." L'Accademia del Disegno 
of Florence. 

p. 368, 1. 36, "Works by . . . Donatello and Michel Agnolo." 
The Judith of Donatello is in the Loggia dei 
Lanzi. Michel Agnolo's David used to be 
also in the Piazza, but is now in the Belle 
liv. p. 370, I. 6, " house that suited me." The house is in the 
Via del Rosaio (or della Colonna), Florence. 
The entrance is in the Via della Pergola, 
where a tablet has been placed with the 
inscription, Casa di Ben-venuto Cellini nella quale 
forrrib e getto il Perseo e poi vi mori il 14. 
febbraio i^yo-fl. (It should be 13 Febbraio). 

p. 370, i. »6, Pier Francesco Riccio. In spite of Cellini, 
this major-domo was, according to the evidence 
of distinguished men of his day, a very estimable 
person. His mind was unsound for some 

R* 495 


years, but he did not die mad, as Vasari 
liv. p. 371, 1. 5, Buaccio Bandinello. Seenote I. vii. 1 1. Buaccio 
is a wilful misspelling on the part of Cellini. 
Baccio is the familiar form of Bartolommeo, 
Buaccio means "great ox." 

p. 371, 1. 14, Tasso. See note I. xiii. 21. 
It. p. 371, 1. 34, " Clock hall." In the Palazzo Vecchio. So 
called from the cosmographical clock made by 
Lorenzo della Volpaia for Lorenzo de' Medici, 
one of the first of its kind. 
lix. p. 377, I. 32, " an angry letter." He refers to this letter in the 
Treatises^ p. 145. But there is no mention of 
the King's demand for accounts. Dimiir {op. 
cit.) has examined the whole matter, and his 
conclusion is much in Benvenuto's disfavour, 
ix. p. 379, 1. 8, Antonio Landi,man of letters as well as Florentine 
merchant, author of a comedy, // Commodo. 

p. 379, 1. 13, table-cutting, etc. For Cellini on the treatment 
of diamonds see Treatises, p. 31. 
Ixii, p. 383, 1. 15, "arrival at Venice." Here ends the autograph 
of the boy amanuensis. 

p. 383, 1. 22, Titian. The great Venetian painter, Tiziano 
Vecelli, b. 1477 at Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576 
at Venice. He was held in the highest 
honour by the Venetian government and 
people, and lived like a great noble. 
Jacopo del Sansovino. Sec note I. Ixxvi. 156. 

p. 383, L 29, Lorenzo de' Medici. See note I. Ixxx. 165. 
Ixiii. p. 385, 1. I, portrait bust of his Excellency. The bust is now 
in the Bargello, Florence. 

p. 385, 1. 25, For Benvenuto's theory and practice of bronze- 
casting see Treatises, pp. ill et seq. 
Ixv. p. 390, 1. 34, " silver from my mines." These were at Pietra- 
santa and Campiglia. From the former the 
Duke drew about a hundred pounds of silver 
yearly, from the other less. In the seventeenth 
century they were abandoned. 
Ixvi. p. 392, 1. 38, "farm . . . above San Domenico." "On the 
Fiesole hill," says Vasari in his Life of 
Bandinelli, " he bought a very fine farm called 
lo Spinello." 

p. 393, 1. 25, " my only son." Who was the mother of this 
child is not known. It has been conjectured 
by Guasti that she was Dorotea, his model for 
the Medusa. 
Ixriii. p. 394, L 23, Messer Sforza. Sforza Almeni, a Perugian, the 
Duke's Chamberlain. In 1566 Cosimo killed 
him with his own hand for revealing to his 
eon, Don Francesco, his amours with Eleonora 
degli Albizzi. 



Ixviii. p. 395, 1. ii, King Philip. Philip II. of Spain, son of Charles 

v., King of Naples and Sicily, and afterwards 

of England by his marriage with Queen 


Ixix. p. 395, 1. 26, "Lord Stefano of Palestrino." Stefano Colonna, 

great general and patron of arts. 
Ixx. p. 397, 1. 20, Hercules and Cacus. Still in the Piazza at 
Florence. The Florentines were enraged 
because it deprived them of a great Samson by 
Michael Angelo, though its own defects were 
enough to have inspired the ridicule that was 
poured on it. Some of the sonneteers were 
imprisoned by Duke Alessandro. 
p. 397, 1. 26, Sacristy — i.e. of San Lorenzo — where are the 
well-known statues of Dawn, Day, Twilight, 
and Night, with the statues of Giuliano de' 
Medici, Duke of Nemours, and Lorenzo de' 
Medici, Duke of Urbino, 
Ixxi., Of this quarrel of Benvenuto and Bandinelli 
there is a confirmation in Vas.vri's Life of the 
latter. There Bandinelli plays a slightly more 
spirited role, 
ixxii. p. 401,, L 13, " Apollo and Hyacinth." These statues are 
lost. So is the Narcissus. 
p. 402,1 1. 4, "Arno floods." August 1547. 
p. 403, 1. 21, Elba. Duke Cosimo's bust till 178 1 was on the 
gate of the fortress of Portoferraio. It was 
afterwards brought to Florence. 
Ixxiii. p. 403, 1. 22, " Ganymede in marble." Now in the Uffizi. 
Ixxvi. p. 408,1. 8, " Mona Fiorc." His good opinion of her did not 
last long. He dismissed her 1556, employed 
her again 1560, and two years later sent her 
away as a thief, 
p. 408, 1. 20, "those who proclaim to doomed men." The 
fraternity of the Ncri, who before a prisoner's 
execution spent the last night with him. 
Ixxviii. p. 413,1. 20, Pope Julius di' Monti. Julius III. (Giovanni 
Maria Ciocchi), elected February 1550. 
Ixxix. p. 413, 1. 24, Bindo Altoviti. This bust is now in the South 
Kensington Museum. Till lately it was in 
the Palazzo Altoviti in Rome. Altoviti, a 
Florentine, was a rich merchant in Rome, 
and as an enemy of the Medici, a patron of 
many Florentine exilesf 
p. 414, 1. 23, "the Forty -eight." The Senate of Florence, 
created in 1532 by Clement VII. It was not 
the first time Duke Cosimo held out this 
bribe to Michel Agnolo. 
Ixxx. p. 415, L i8. The contract between Benvenuto and Altoritt is 

given by Tassi, vol. iii. (pp. 26-34). 
Ixxxi. p. 416, 1. 2, L^rbino was Francesco Amatori. Michel Agnolo 



loved this assistant of his like a son. In a 
letter written after his death he calls him un 
valente uomo^ pieno di fede e lealta. 
Ixxxiv. p. 422, L 28, La Bella Franceschina. A popular song of the day. 
IxxxT, p. 423, 1. 16, " war with Siena." 1552. Siena, in the hands 
of the Emperor Charles V., was garrisoned 
by Spaniards. The Sienese made a French 
alliance, and elected Piero Strozzi as their 
captain, but were defeated in 1555. Cosimo 
took the side of the Spaniards. The Emperor 
promised him that if the city were saved from 
the French, it should be his. 
Ixxxvi. p. 426, 1. 6, "gates of Turin." In 1543, when Turin was 
occupied by the French, a captain of the 
Imperial army sent six waggon-loads of hay to 
the gates of the city. The waggons contained 
soldiers, whose part it was to keep the port- 
cullis raised. But the stratagem failed. 
ixxxvii. p. 426, 1. 20, " the Chimaera." Now in the Archaeological 
Museum at Florence. 

p. 427, 1. 13, "towards the Lions," i.e. on the side of the 
palace that looks towards the Via dei Leoni. 

p. 427, 1. 25, "weak health." When the Duchess Elconora 
died in 1562, she had been in bad health many 
Ixxxviii. p. 428,, 1. 34, the Prince, Don Giovanni, etc. These were 
the sons of Duke Cosimo, all young boys at 
the time. The Prince, Don Francesco, was 
Ixxxix. p. 430,1. 17, "the Loggia," i.e. the Loggia de' Lanzi, in the 
Piazza of Florence. 

p. 430, 1. 24, San Piero Scheraggio. This church, which was 
the scene of many notable events in Florentine 
history, was pulled down in 1561, to maloe 
room for the Uffizi. 

p. 430,1. 31, The Mint was opposite — where the Post Office 
now stands. 

p. 430, 1. 32, " My own door." He means that of his work- 
shop enclosure in the Loggia de' Lanzi. 

p. 431,1. 8, Buaccio. Not his enemy Bandinelli this time, 
but Baccio Baldini, Bernardone's son, a dis- 
tinguished physician and scholar, and first 
librarian to the Laurcntian Library. 
xc. p. 432, 1. 26, Sonnets. Some of these have been published by 
Tassi, Milanesi, and Mabellini. 

p. 433,1. 2, Jacopo Pontormo (1494- 1556), a distinguished 
pupil of Andrea del Sarto. See Vasari, vol. 

p. 433, L 4, Bronzino. Angioli Allori, called II Bronzino, 
(1502-1572), a pupil of Pontormo, and a 
distinguished Florentine painter. The Sand- 



rino mentioned here it his nephew, also a 
painter of merit, and, like his uncle, a writer 
of occasional verse. See Vasam, cd. 
Milanesi (references in Index). 

xcii. p. 434, L 14, " openly to the whole city." This wa» on 
April 27, 1554. _ 

P" 435>1« 13> Giovan Agnolo de' Servi (or da Montorsoli), a 
celebrated sculptor of the Order of the Servi 
di Maria. Worked at Messina and Florence. 
See his Life by Vasah, vol. vi. 

xciii. p. 436,1. 29, "Eremo." The famous Eremo of Camaldoli. 
Bagni di Santa Maria delle Grazie, otherwise 
Bagno. Sestile should probably be Sestino. 

xciv. p. 438,1. 25, "the little plan." Cellini in his appeal to the 
Soprassindachi in 1570 quotes this as a proof 
of his services to the Duke and to Florence. 
See BiANCHi, p. 550. 

xcvi. p, 440, 1. 22, Girolamo degli Albizzi. A cousin of Duke 
Cosimo's, and an enthusiastic partisan of the 
Medici. He was accused, probably with 
gross injustice, of poisoning Guicciardini, the 

xcvii. p. 444, 1. 5, " very old man." Michel Agnolo was then 
eighty years old. 
xcviii. p. 445,1. 34, "Baccio d' Agnolo . . . who spoiled the cupola." 
Baccio altered Brunelleschi's plan, so that 
Michel Agnolo said he had made the cupola 
like a cage for crickets. See his Life by 
Vasari, vol. V. Giuliano and Bandinelli also 
spoiled Brunelleschi's design for the choir. 
In 1841 some of their hideous ornaments were 
taken away. 
P- 447 > 1. 36, "heard nothing more of the business." Benvenuto 
did not carry out the work. Bandinelli 
prevented that. 

Kcix. p. 447,1. 38, "this time." There is a long gap between this 

and the last chapter, nearly three years, 1556- 

1559. Benvenuto spent part of the time in 

prison for various offences. 

p. 448, 1. 2, The Grieve does not pass near Poggio a Caiano. 

It should be the Ombrone. 
P* 44^>1. 12, Ammanato. See Vasari's Life of Bandinelli for 
an account of the strife between Bandinelli, 
Cellini, and Ammanati for the Neptune. 
Ammanati was a pupil of Jacopo Sansovino. 
A better architect than sculptor, he recon- 
structed the Santa Trinita bridge, and was 
engaged on the Pitti Palace. Died 1592. 
See Vasari, ed, Milanesi (references in Index). 
^' P- 45 3> !• 9, Bandinelli died Fcbrutry 7, 1560. 
€1. p. 453, 1. 15, Picta. It is very doubtful whether Bandinelli 


had any thoughts of rivalling Bcnvenuto'» 
Crucifix. His Pieta is said to have been 
begun by his son. The father continued it in 
imitation or rivalry of Michel Agnolo. It 
exists still in the Pazzi Chapel in the Church 
of the Annunziata. 
ci. p. 454., 1. 28, Giovanni the Fleming, celebrated sculptor, better 
known as Gian Bologna, born at Douai in 
1524, but spent most of his life in Italy. His 
most celebrated works arc The Rape of the 
Sabines, in the Loggia de' Lanzi, the Mercury, 
in the Bargello, and the fountain in the Piazza 
of Bologna. Died 1608. 

p. 454, 1. 37, Giorgetto, i.e. Vasari. 
ciii. p. 457, 1. 32, Trespiano. In 1548, and again 1566, Cellini 
bought property at Trespiano. See documents 
in Ricordi (Tassi, vol. iii, pp. 18 and 70. 

p. 457, 1. 34, Vicchio is seven miles to the east of Florence, 
on the Arno. 
cv. p. 461, 1. 22, " Ammanato's wife." This passage is so blotted 
in the original MS. as to be illegible. Per- 
haps Cellini erased the slander himself in a fit 
of repentance. The lady, Laura Battiferra, 
was a most estimable person, and a minor 
poetess. Cellini himself praised her in a 
sonnet, comparing her to Petrarch's Laura, 
cvi. p. 462, 1. 22, "my imfinished Neptune model." Nothing is 

known of the fate of this model of Cellini. 
cxi. p. 468, 1. 33, "I make you a present of it." But their 
Excellencies would not accept the Crucifix as 
a gift. In 1565 Duke Cosimo bought it for 
fifteen hundred gold crowns. It was in the 
Pitti Palace till 1576, when the Grand Duke 
Francesco sent it as a present to Philip II. 
It is now in the choir of the Church of San 
Lorenzo in the Escurial. 
cxii. p. 469, L 27, gueen of France. Catherine de' Medici, widow 
of Henri II., and regent of France. 

p. 470, 1. 3, Daniello da Volterra. Painter and sculptor, con- 
temptuously called /■/ Bragkettone because he 
painted garments to cover Michel Agnolo's 
nude figures in his "Last Judgment." He 
never finished the bronze horse referred to 
here, but Richelieu had it adapted to fit the 
statue of Louis XIII. 
cxiii. p, 471 ;1. 2, "except the Prince." Don Francesco left for 
Spain, May 23, 1562. On his return he 
assumed the government of Florence, as his 
father had abdicated in June 1563. 

p. 471, 1. 4, " by the Sienese marshes." The journey was 
begun in October 1562. 



cxiii. p. 471, 1. 4, "the Cardinal." Giovanni de' Medici, the 
Duke's second son, died at Rosignano, Nov- 
ember 21, 1562. He was nineteen years old. 
The younger brothers, Garzia and Fernando, 
also took ill, and the former died on December 
6. Their mother only survived him twelve 
days. There were many scandalous rumours 
about the successive calamities, one report 
being that Don Garzia killed the Cardinal, 
and was himself killed by his father. There 
appears to be not a word of truth in them. 
The season was a very unhealthy one, and the 
air of the Maremma was pestilential. 

Benvenuto's Last Days. 

p. 473, 1. 22, " out of gratitude." See Bianchi, Documenti^ 

p. 538. 
p. 474, 1. 4, letter to Varchi, Sec Bianchi, Documenti, p. 

p. 474, 1. 17, " memorandum." See Bianchi, Documenti, pp. 

593. 594- 

p. 475, 1. 6, " disinherited," The whole story of the adop- 
tion and disinheritance may be read in 
Bianchi, Documenti, pp. 528-531, and pp. 535- 

p. 476,1. 13, "death of Michael Angelo." Sec Vasari, vol. 

p. 476, 1. 22, " with his pen." See Plon, p. 116. 

p. 476, 1. 28, "portrait in wax." See Plon, Nouvel Appendiccy 

p. 476, 1. 33, "with great pomp." Sec Bianchi, Document^ 
p. 574. 



Acciaiuoli, Carlo, Master of the 

Florentine Mint, 164. 
Accolti, Cardinal, Archbishop 

of RaTenna, 291. 
Agnolo(d'),Giuliano and Baccio, 

architects, 445, 499. 
Agostino, Duke Alessandro's 

tailor, 182. 
Alamanni, Luigi, man of letters, 

89,94,276.8,321, 342,483- 
Albizzi, Girolamo degli, 440, 

Aldobrandi, Bertino, 86, 102, 

103, 484. 
AUegretti, Antonio, poet, 100, 

171, 174, 484. 
Allori, Angelo (II Bronzino), 

painter, 433, 443, 498. 
Altoviti, Bindo, 268, 413-416, 

Alvarez, Pietro, Viceroy of 

Naples, 142, 143. 
Amalfi, Duke of, 284, 492. 
Amerigo, enameller, 48. 
Ammanati, Bartolommco, sculp- 

tor, 448, 454, 461, 462, 476, 

Angelica, Cellini's mistress, 132- 

134, 141-144. 
Annebaut (d'), Claude, Admiral 

of France, 345, 352, 494. 
Anterigoli, Piermaria (Sbietta), 

sheep-farmer, 455-461, 463- 

468, 473. 
Anterigoli, Filippo, 455-459. 
Arsago, Pagolo, goldsmith, 25. 

Ascanio, Cellini's apprentice, 
196-200, 209, 221, 226, 227, 
275, 276, 279-284, 288, 292, 
293, 296, 297, 299, 302, 326, 
328, 351, 360, 361, 374, 

Ascolano, Aurelio, improvisa- 
tore, 59. 

Avalos (d'), Alfonso, Marquis 
of Guasto, 193, 486. 


Bachiacca, painter, 56, 66-68. 
Bachiacca, embroiderer, 381, 

Baglioni,Orazio, condottiere, 71, 

Baldini, Bernardone, broker, 379, 

387-390, 422, 423, 430, 431, 


Balducci, Jacopo, Master of the 
Roman Mint, 113. 

Bandinelli, Bartolommeo, sculp- 
tor, 11, 375, 376, 387, 391-394, 
396-401, 423, 431, 433, 434, 

443. 444, 44S» 448-45°. 453. 

454, 461, 478. 
Bartolommeo, sculptor, Cellini's 

brother-in-lavr, 84. 
Bellarmato, Girolamo, engineer, 

352. 495. 
Bembo, Pietro (afterwards Car- 
dinal), man of letters, 200, 

201, 488. 
Bended io, Alberto, of Ferrara, 

52, 288-292. 



Bene (del), Albertaccio, 149 ; 
Alessandro, 70, 71, 137, 200; 
Albizzo, 149. 

Bene (del), Bacco, 469, 470. 

Benedetto, notary, 137-139. 

Benintendi, Niccolo, 157, 158 ; 
Piero, 157, 159, 161. 

Benvegnato, Perugino, Chamber- 
lain of Clement VII., 67-70. 

Bernardone. See Baldini. 

Bologna, II. See Primaticcio. 

Bourbon, Constable of, 70, 71, 

Bramante, architect, 117. 

Bronzino. See Allori. 

Bugiardini,Giuliano, painter, 88. 

Buonaccorsi, Giuliano, treasurer 
of Francis I., 208, 377-383. 

Buonarroti, Michel Agnolo, 20, 
»i. **. 33. 51. 64, 87, 161, 
368, 386, 397, 413-417, 433> 
444, 449, 450, 45*, 476, 479- 

Busbacca, courier, 202-207. 


Caesar, Julius, 2, 3. 

Cagli, Benedetto da, criminal 

judge, 2x6, 247. 
CapeUo, Bianca, 476. 
Caradosso, engraver, 48, 62, 93, 

Carnesecchi, Piero, 146, 486. 
Caro, Annibale, man of letters, 

100, 139, 171, 174. 
Carpi, Giacomo da, surgeon, 51- 

53, 291,481. 
Caterina, a model, 3*7-331, 335. 


Cellini, family, the, 3, 107. 

Cellini, Benvenuto, parentage 
and ancestry, 2-6 ; birth and 
childhood, 6-10 ; musical edu- 
cation, 8-15 ; put to the gold- 
smith's trade, ii ; exile in 
Siena, 13; work at Bologna, 
13, 14; study at Pisa, 17-19; 
return to Florence and illness, 
19; refuses offer of employ- 
ment from Torrigiani, 20-22 ; 

work in Rome, 23 ; quarrel 
with the Guasconti in Florence, 
27.30; fleet to Rome, 31; 
worksfor Bishop of Salamanca, 
32-45; for Porzia Chigi, 33-38; 
learns new arts, 47-49 ; 
attacked by the plague, 53 ; 
the artists' club, 55-60 ; siege 
of Rome, 70 ; bombardier in 
St. Angelo, 72-82 ; melts the 
Pope's tiaras, 80 ; return to 
Florence, 82; stay in Mantua, 
84; deserts Florence before the 
siege, 90 ; works for Pope 
Clement, 91-97; stamper of 
the Mint, 97 ; death of his 
brother, 10 1- 106; his ven- 
geance, 108 ; quarrel with the 
Pope, 109; illness, 112; arrest, 
126; practises the black art, 
132.137J; wounds Benedetto 
and flees to Naples, 139-144; 
returns to Rome and regains 
Clement's favour, x 44- 148; 
kills Pompeo, X50 ; makes 
Paul III.'s money, 152; Pier 
Luigi plots against his life, 
153-X56; visits Florence and 
Venice, I5x-i6iti, ^ais spite 
against the inn-keeper, 161, 
162 ; works for Duke Ales- 
sandro in Florence, X63-168; 
receives pardon for homicide 
in Rome, 172; violent fever, 
X 72- 1 80; Varchi's sonnet on 
his supposed death, 177; 
slandered by Vasari in Flor- 
ence, 180; relations with 
Charles V., 188-19X ; journey 
to France, 199-207 ; visits 
Bembo, 200 ; return to Italy, 
209; arrested in Rome, 215; 
imprisonment in St. Angelo, 
2x6; his defence, 2x7-220; 
escape, 229-234; second 
imprisonment in St. An- 
gelo, 243-266 ; visions, 255- 
2605 release, 267; his Capi- 
tolo on the prison, 269-273 ; 
works for Cardinal of Fer- 
rara, 275-279 ; sets off for 



France, 279 ; kills the post- 
master of Siena, 283 ; stay in 
Ferrara, 285-292, favour of 
Francis I., 294; made lord of 
the Petit Nesle, 299 ; silver 
statues, 302 ; letters of 
naturalisation, 312; salt- 
cellar, gate and fountain for 
Fontainebleau, 313-317; en- 
mity of Madame d'Etampes, 
318 ; in the Paris law-courts, 
324-327; betrayed by Pagolo 
Micceri, 328 ; vengeance on 
Micceri, 335337; quarrel 
with Primaticcio, 333-335 ; 
the rival statues, 348-350 ; 
differences with the King, 
353-357 ; leaves France, 360 ; 
enters the service of Duke 
Cosimo, 368 ; begins the 
Perseus, 371 ; bust of Cosimo, 
376 ; flight to Venice, visits 
Titian, 383 ; quarrel with 
Bandinelli, 396-400 ; casting 
of the Perseus, 402-412; bust 
of Bindo Altoviti, 413 ; visits 
Rome and Michel Agnolo, 
414; h'"'r" in fortification of 
Floren , ^23-426; exhibition 
of the Perseus, 432-437 ; pil- 
grimage, 437 ; quarrel over 
money matters, 438-445 ; the 
Neptune statue, 473-455 ; 
attempt on his life by Sbietta, 
455-462; marble crucifix, 451- 
468 ; at Leghorn with Duke 
Cosimo, 464; Queen of France 
makes overtures to him, 470 ; 
goes to Pisa on the death of 
the Cardinal de' Medici, 471 ; 
his last years, 473-476. 
Cellini, Andrea, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 ; 
Bartolommeo, wood-carver, 
4; Cosa, 6, 84; Cristofano, 
2, 4; Francesco the elder, 4; 
Francesco the younger, known 
as Cecchino del Piffero, 12, 
13, 16, 17, 86, 87, 101-107; 
Giovanni, 2, 4-19, 31, 32, 
38, 41, 82, 83, 84, 86, 
92 : Girolamo, 4 ; Liperata, 

84, 86, 176, 285, 366, 375; 

Luca, 3. 
Cennini, Bastiano, master of the 

Florentine Mint, 166. 
Ceri, Rienzo da, soldier of 

fortune, 46, 72, 481. 
Cesano, Gabriel, 276, 278. 
Ceserino, Gabriello, gonfalonier, 

Charles V., 188-191, 195, 343, 

35^* 353- 

Cherubino, clockmaker, 280, 
283, 284, 285. 

Chigi, Agostino, 33 ; Gismondo, 
33 ; Porzia, 33-37, 480. 

Chioccia, Bartolommeo, em- 
ployed by Cellini, 326, 328, 

Cibo, Cardinal, 45, 481. 

Cibo, Lorenzo, 156, 486. 

Clement VII., Pope, 32, 35, 40, 
45. 70. 7»-75»77. 7^, 80, 81, 
82, 89, 94, 95-101, 107-109, 
ixi, 112, 115, 116-126, 129. 
132, 140, 146-148, 193, 194, 

»i7. »i9' 47^' 
Colonna, Stefano, 395. 
Conversini, Benedetto, GoTcrnor 

of Rome, 216, 239. 
Cornaro, Francesco, Cardinal, 

151, 152, 179, 226, 236, 237, 

Cornaro, Marco, Cardinal, 45, 

Cortese, Tommaso, Papal datary, 

Crespino, bargello, 215. 


Daniello of Volterra, painter, 

470, 500. 
Dante Alighieri, 325, 494. 
Danti, Vicenzio, sculptor, 

Diego, a young Spanish student, 

Donatello, 368, 385, 386. 
Duranti, Durante, Chamberlain 

of Paul IM., 190, 191, 263- 

165, 273, 490. 



Eleonora of Toledo, wife of 
Duke Cosimo I., 367, 376, 

39i> 394> 395, 4»8-4i3» 4*7" 

430, 441, 447, 448, 451, 454, 

468, 469, 495. 
Este(d'), Ippolito. 5« Ferrara, 

Cardinal of. 
Etampes (d*), Madame, 303, 

314, 315, 318-323, 332, 346, 

348-350, 353-355, 358, 361, 



Fa (de la), Jacques, treasurer of 

Francis I., 332. 
Fano (da) Lodovico, scholar, 

100, 171, 174. 
Farnese, Cardinal Alessandro. 

See Paul III. 
Farnese, Cardinal Alessandro, 

son of Pier Luigi, 266, 490. 
Farnese, Jeronima, wife of Pier 

Luigi, 248. 
Farnese, Pier Luigi, son of 

Paul III., 153-155, 215, 216, 

220, 240, 242, 248, 256, 262, 

267, 268, 273, 365, 366, 486. 
Fattore, II (Gianfrancesco), 

painter, 32, 46, 56, 58, 480. 
Felice, Cellini's apprentice and 

partner, 132-138, 168, 173- 

178, 180, 182, 184, 185, 212, 

Ferrara, Duke of, 51, 157, *86, 

Ferrara, Cardinal of (Ippolito 

d'Este), 209, 212, 213, 224, 

266, 275, 279, 280, 285-288, 

293-299, 302-305, 314, 3x5, 

343-345. 358-364, 489- 
Fiaschino, chamberlain to the 

Duke of Ferrara, 289, 292. 
Filippo (di), Francesco, son of 

Filippino Lippi, 22, 26, 479. 
Fiorino of Cellino, a captain of 

Julius Caesar, 2, 3. 
Firenzuola, goldsmith, 24-26. 

Foiano (da), Fra Benedetto, 
254, 255, 490. 

Foppa, Ambrogio. See Cara- 

Francesco (Fusconi) da Norcia, 
physician, 172-180. 

Francis I., 208, 212-214, 220, 
221, 226, 267, 287, 288, 293- 
296, 298-306, 310-323, 332, 
335, 341, 343, 344-355, 359, 
367, 374, 377-379, 390» 39», 


Gaddi, Agnolino, 133-135. 
Gaddi, Giovanni, Clerk of the 

Camera, 100, 101, 115, 139, 

168, 170, 173, 174, 176, 484. 
Gaddi, Cardinal Niccolo, 75, 

140, 214, 482. 
Gaio, a goldsmith, 192-194. 
Gattinara, G, B. (Iscatinaro), 

219, 489. 
Giacomo of Perugia, surgeon, 

99, 100, 256. 
Giliolo, Girolamo, treasurer of 

Ferrara, 287, 289. 
Giotto, 325, 494. 
Giovan Agnolo de' Servi, Fra, 

435, 499- 
Giovanni, da Bologna (Giovanni 

the Fleming), sculptor, 454, 

Giulio Romano, painter, 56, 58, 

59, ^4, 481. 
Gonzaga, Cardinal Ercole, 85, 

Gorini, Lattanzio, paymaster of 

Cosimo I., 370, 371, 392, 423. 
Granacci, Elisabetta, Cellini's 

mother, 5 ; Stefano, 5. 
Grolier, Jean, patron of art and 

collector, 346, 494. 
Guasconti, the goldsmiths, 17- 

30, 479- 
Guasto, Marquis of. See Avalos. 
Guidi, Guido, physician to 

Francis 1., 320, 321, 342, 361, 

362, 374, 456, 493. 




Henry II. as Dauphin, 303, 322, 

Julius II., Pope, 10. 
Julius III., Pope, 413, 496. 
JuTenale, Latino, 15Z, 188, 194, 

Lamentone, courier, 157, 159. 
Landi, the, of Piacenza, 365, 

Landi, Antonio, 379-381, 389, 

Landi, Pier, 31, S7, 90, 180. 
Lautizio, seal-engraver, 47, 48, 

Leo X., Pope, 10, 478. 
Leonardo da Vinci. See Vinci. 
Leoni, Leone, goldsmith, 263. 
Lorraine, Cardinal of, 303, 304, 

319, 320, 493. 
Lucagnolo of Jesi, goldsmith, 

34-37. 4»- 


Macaroni (do'), Paolo, employed 
by Cellini, 326, 330. 

Ma^on rie), Antoine, 312. 

Mannellini, Bernardino, em- 
ployed by Cellini, 375, 383, 

Mantua, Marquis (afterwards 
Duke) of